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7 Tips for Being a More Light-Hearted Parent

Written by Gretchen Rubin (the Happiness Project)

Do you want to be a more light-hearted parent; less nagging, more laughing? Gretchen Rubin has some tips that will help:

1. At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter.

2. Sing in the morning. It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone.

3. Get enough sleep. It’s so tempting to stay up late, to enjoy the peace and quiet. But 6:30 AM comes fast.

4. Avoid feeling cranky by getting organized the night before and making sure you’re not rushed.

5. Most messages to kids are negative: “stop,” “don’t” “no.” Try to cast your answers as “yes”: “Yes, we’ll go as soon as you’ve finished eating,” not “We’re not leaving until you’ve finished eating.”

6. One friend prods his children into cleaning their rooms by telling them, “I’m going to clean your room unless you want to.” They can’t stand the thought of him messing with their stuff, so they take over.

7. Say “no” only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? Okay. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed? Fine.

Everyone wants a peaceful, cheerful, even joyous, atmosphere at home — but you can’t nag and yell your way to get there. So think about ways, like those listed above, to cut back on the shouting and to add moments of laughing, singing, and saying “yes.”

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