Page 14 - Alaska Parent Spring 2021
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Health & Wellness
 Happy Family, Happy Life
 Here are 8 secrets of happy families By Christa Melnyk Hines
 Happiness can vary depending on our personal circumstances. But why are some families more resilient and happier despite the obstacles life throws their way?
THEY HANG OUT TOGETHER. Happy families feel a strong sense of connection with each other. According to child-family therapist Jennifer Jackson-Rice, LSCSW/ LSCW, real connection takes as little as five minutes a day.
Sit next to each other during homework time, cook together, read books at bedtime, and chat with each other while driving to activities.
Create calmer, more cheerful mornings by prepping the night before or getting yourself up a little earlier.
“That connection in the first part of the day can carry kids throughout the day,” Jennifer says.
Michelle Hon, a mom of two boys, ages 4 and 2, agrees. She says that the first 30 minutes in the morning and the last 30 minutes before bedtime helps her family feel grounded, calm and loved.
“We do a lot of snuggles and cuddles in the morning, and we try not to make that a rushed time in our home,” Michelle says.
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In the evening, she and her husband Michael stick
to a bedtime routine with their sons, which includes reading books together and quietly reflecting on the day.
THEY CHEER FOR EACH OTHER. Celebrate your kids’ interests and successes by acknowledging their efforts rather than zeroing in on what went wrong:
• “I loved watching you play.”
• “I like how you colored this so neatly!”
• “Great job on your test. I can tell you really concentrated.”
“When we praise our children, self-esteem goes up. When self-esteem is high, connection is good, behaviors are good,”Jennifer says.
THEY SEEK FULFILLMENT. While material items like the latest electronics, designer jeans and trendy toys may bring fleeting joy, they won’t deliver lasting contentment.

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