Boost your family life

5 ideas that will make you happier immediately

At this time last year, we were hoping that the pandemic would be over soon. Now, we are wondering how much the pandemic will have affected our family life in retrospect. What can we do to be happier in the new year despite all the uncertainty?

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for less pandemic and more happiness. But we can ensure that the key to our children's confidence and happiness lies at home.

Let's make the following ideas our resolutions:

Short version of the article:

Due to the pandemic, families spend a lot of time together. Even too much, I would say. Nevertheless, a having a great and relaxed time with together is a no-brainer if you want to have a happy family life. There are 5 things you can do to improve your family life immediately:

  1. Put yourself first (Whaaat? Let me explain below ;))

  2. Introduce a yes day

  3. Do something good for others to help them through this difficult time

  4. Make quality time with your family

  5. Encourage your children to find and raise their voice

In the long version of the article, you'll find out how to do it.

Long version of the article:

1. Put yourself first

Whaaaat? "Never!" You may say.

But think of it: Before a plane takes off, the flight attendants always explain the following safety instructions.

In an emergency, first put on your own oxygen mask, then help your child.

As unintuitive as this is for us parents because we want to save our child's life from our own, it only makes sense in this order. We cannot help our children if we ourselves die first. This is an extreme case. But the same applies to a healthy everyday family life.

Tense weeks and months, uncertainty and stress lie behind us. It's no surprise that studies show that our stress translates directly to our children. If you are in touch with your own needs, you can also better support your child.

What can you do?

  • Spend time alone

  • Consciously spend childless time with your partner

  • Pursue a hobby, be it jogging twice a week or reading a book. It sounds so basic, but it changes everything.

  • Meet a friend once a month, even if it's at home, plus a new person.

Create opportunities to connect with yourself. Even small units change sooo much.

2. Introduce a yes day

Inspired by Amy Krouse Rosenthal's book "Yes Day!" I've been thinking about saying yes and no. It's about introducing a day in the year when the craziest children's wishes come true (you can read more ideas and details about this in 3 reasons for a yes day)

Actress Jennifer Garner introduced Yes Day to her family based on the book and released a film about it with Netflix.

Why is a Yes Day?

Children were the victims of the pandemic. Even if we as moms and dads do everything to ensure that they are well, unpredictability and uncertainty shape our new everyday life: We can neither promise a visit to the swimming pool nor a children's birthday party because we don't know what the situation will be like two weeks later. There are so many more no's than usual these days. But there are often a lot of no's that could be replaced by a yes.

Think of it: We often say no out of routine, because a fixed structure helps us to maintain an overview and an everyday rhythm. That is a good thing. But yes to small things is almost always possible.

Have a yes-day once a month, on which you consciously refrain from saying no where possible. That can be really relaxing!

What can you do?

  • Push the excavator around the table for another round? OK.

  • Walk around the block with flashlights after dinner? Why not.

  • Bathe three days in a row? Ok, exceptionally!

Of course you can point out that this is not the new status quo, but a yes as part of a yes day. 😉

3. Make quality time with your family

Oh yes, we are too attached to each other in our nuclear family. In fact, so much that we no longer consciously enjoy any time together. But if you heed the first idea alone over time, you will make room for it again.

Away with the cell phone. Be present for each other.

What can you do?

  • Watch a movie? Sure, but please together 😊. Of course, the content is strongly geared towards the youngest child, but that's just the way it is. It's all about being together.

  • Or cook together once a week. Even small children love to knead pizza dough.

  • A nice family time doesn't need fancy ideas, it needs inner presence.

A nice family time doesn't need fancy ideas, it needs inner presence.

4. Do something good for others

Studies show that doing good for others has a positive impact on your own mental health. A charity initiative therefore has a positive effect on both sides, the giving and the receiving. Your child also learns that it is important to help beyond their own family. Beautiful or?

What can you do?

Do something for each month. You can do something good for your own family and friends, as well as for those in need.

  • Give flowers to a neighbor who lives alone, even if you hardly know her.

  • Bake cookies and give them away to the homeless or anyone you want to please

  • Write a diary for your own grandparents with photos and short texts from the current one. Together, you are less alone!

Helping others helps you too and sets a great example for your child.

5. Encourage your children to find their voice

The whole corona situation with all its limitations and uncertainties has created fear, disappointment and anger in children. We have to show them that these feelings are valid, that we hear and understand them. Even if we can't change the situation.

What can you do?

  • Explain your feelings to them. It strengthens inner clarity when children can name their feelings (it's the same for adults, by the way).

  • Let your kids make suggestions for things to do together, like spending time and eating - yay, again pasta with nothing! 😉. But your child is happy. Look for implementation options instead of saying no straight away.

  • Ask your children for their opinion, even on small things. It sounds so banal, but in everyday life, the lives of children are determined by us as parents. What children want is all too often anticipated rather than discussed. Consciously schedule time, for example by planning the next day together before you go to sleep.

Now, at the beginning of the new year, planning the year together with the family is a great, strengthening ritual. You'll be amazed what great ideas your child will come up with!

Let's show our children that all their feelings are valid and that their ideas are heard.