Science-Based Strategies for Boosting Happiness

Core Components of Happiness

When asked what they want for their child, parents often share with me that they simply wish for their son or daughter to be happy. Conceptually, this makes a lot of sense not only because it brings us joy to see those we love experience positive emotions, but also because of the additional benefits of having happy kids. Research demonstrates that youth with the combination of 1) more frequent positive emotions, 2) less frequent negative emotions, and 3) greater satisfaction with life (the three core components of happiness) also:

  • Have better physical health

  • Demonstrate fewer symptoms of mental problems like anxiety and depression  

  • Have better social relationships

  • Earn better grades

  • Have more positive attitudes towards school and learning

Fortunately, with the rise of the positive psychology movement in the past few decades, psychologists have shed light on key contributors to happiness. If you’re looking to boost your child’s longterm happiness you may find the information and resources below to be helpful.

High Achievers: Easing the Middle School to High School Transition

If you have a middle school student or you work with them, it’s important to think about ways to ease the the transition from middle school to high school. This can be a stressful time for all students. And it can be particularly stressful for high achieving students who are entering accelerated high school coursework, such as International Baccalaureate (IB) programs or are enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

Here are a few strategies that can help ease the transition.

Raising Mindful Kids

Mindfulness and meditation are becoming widely used strategies to reduce stress, improve cognitive functioning, creative thinking and productivity, and even improve physical health. Even many of the world’s top performers use mindfulness as part of their daily practice. Now, recent research suggests that everyone - including kids of all ages - can reap the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices and there are many wonderful ways to raise mindful kids.. One easy way to incorporate a “moment of Zen” into your daily routine is...

Ready, Set, "Fall Back"

It’s almost that time of year where we will “fall back” and gain an extra hour of much needed sleep. Well, that is unless you’re a parent. For many young children, the extra hour can throw off sleep schedules and routines, often causing early wake-ups and cranky kids.

But, “fall back” shouldn’t mean “fall apart.” Here are some tips to help you and your child adjust to the time change gracefully.

Healthy Homework Habits

If you are still recovering from the chaos of Hurricane Irma, you are not alone! After more than a week without power, school, and a normal routine, parents and kids alike are feeling a bit out-of-whack. In times of chaos, it is important to help your children get back into the normal swing of things - especially when it comes to their homework routines! Hurricane Irma may have taken your power (and your sanity!), but don’t let it take away your child’s success at school!

Here are 5 tips from teachers to help your child get back to a normal, healthy homework routine:


Preparing Kids for Hurricane Irma

Life may feel overwhelming for those parents out there who are in the midst of preparing for the onset of Hurricane Irma. Envisioning the worst case scenario  can be a frightening prospect for everyone... but consider how young kids might feel about the chaos and uncertainty all around them. Have you prepped them like you’ve been prepping your home?

Are morning, after-school, or nighttime routines a daily struggle?

Using a visual schedule can create a much calmer, more consistent start and end to the day that won’t leave you and your child frustrated and angry!

Click the link below to find several customizable visual schedules to use with your family:

Movement Facilitates Learning and Problem Solving

Many of the most productive and innovative adults know and practice routine physical activity.  Also, they know when they get "stuck", whether it be in finding solutions to problems, with social relationships, writers block, or just "stuck in a rut," they often find that changing the body (e.g., a brisk walk/jog, swim, yoga) can change and reinvigorate their mental state. This is important to teach and allow kids to experience throughout their development- especially at home and in school. Not only will it enhance learning but instill vital life skills that will serve them well throughout their lifetime!