PRAC­TIS­ING THE HAP­PI­NESS HABIT AT HOME

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your 1 To 3 Years Toddler -

START YOUR DAY WITH A SMILE

When my baby was about six months old he still spent the night in a cot at­tached to our spousal bed. Aside from the prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of hav­ing him so close at night one of the rea­sons I loved hav­ing him there was the gummy smile I got ev­ery sin­gle morn­ing.

His smile made me smile. It still is one of the hap­pi­est mem­o­ries of baby­hood I keep close to my heart. So I have tried to take this les­son from my baby: a day that starts with a smile is a happy one. I take his smile and raise him my own! I make a point to greet ev­ery mem­ber of the fam­ily with a smile first thing in the morn­ing and, un­sur­pris­ingly, I get a smile back in re­turn. I’m not sure if this in­creases my sons’ well-be­ing but I can feel my heart lift when we start our day like that.

SUR­ROUNDED BY SMILES

I re­alise that some of our favourite fam­ily pic­tures are linked to this weird tra­di­tion that we have. We don’t visit shop­ping malls of­ten, but when we do go to one of the ones close to us we have set up a tra­di­tion that we take a photo in the photo booth that they have there. The pic­tures now span sev­eral years from when Dun­can and I were a care­free cou­ple, to the ar­rival of Joe and then Oliver, as well as some ex­tra strips with much-loved fam­ily mem­bers and friends (we take our guests to the booth too). It is a won­der­ful col­lec­tion and the pic­tures are all truly hap­pi­ness-cap­tur­ing. They are mostly of smi­ley faces, but also some silly faces too. I catch my­self smil­ing at these pic­tures ev­ery time I see them, so I de­cide to put them some­where prom­i­nent and share them with the kids of­ten. On the fridge they go!

A RITUAL OF HAPPY THOUGHTS

As I find my­self more and more aware of when I smile (and when I don’t) I re­alise that a lot of the time my smiles are not only con­nected to what is hap­pen­ing in the mo­ment, but are also linked to happy mem­o­ries. I take the thought a lit­tle fur­ther: there are things, ac­tions and phrases that I as­so­ci­ate with peo­ple I love... Thoughts of my loved ones pop into my head ev­ery time I do any of the above ac­tions... The thought of them un­fail­ingly puts a smile on my face. It is not dif­fi­cult to share these thoughts with my kids, in the hope that they too as­so­ci­ate an ac­tion with a loved one. It is easy and ends up be­ing lots of fun. It is also a way for me to share with my kids fam­ily tra­di­tions and sto­ries that would oth­er­wise be lost for ever.

TECH IT UP

Smilefy your mo­bile phone: pick a pic­ture of a loved one with a smile on their face and make it your screen­saver on your mo­bile phone. Ev­ery time you look to see if there’s a mes­sage, or even just look at the time, you should get a boost of hap­pi­ness! On some phones you can go fur­ther and add pic­tures to your clos­est con­tacts – I have a lovely pic­ture of my hus­band and youngest son set up so ev­ery time he calls they ap­pear, all smiles.

Choose a joke app and put it on your mo­bile or tablet. You will get the joke of the day au­to­mat­i­cally to your de­vice ev­ery morn­ing and you can share a laugh with the whole fam­ily!

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