How to teach your Grandchildren to be happy

By Susan "Honey" Good

We just returned to our home in Rancho Mirage, California from our condo in the sky after a whirlwind trip of five days in my beautiful Chicago. As many of you know, in Chicago, we live on the 71st floor of a condo building with our dog, Orchid, who often lies on the window ledge listening to the city clamor of cars honking and sirens screaming as she eyes Neiman Marcus far below. She is happy!

I am like Orchid. I am happy. I love the action of my city, the vitality of the people who live there, the tourists who walk our streets mesmerized by its beauty. I love the lifestyle I have chosen.

I am like Chicago! Older, vibrant and alive! It matters not that I am defined as an older woman and a grandmother of 20 grandchildren. That is a blessing.

I realize that I am older in years, but I also know that I am young in my mind, wise in my thinking, and filled with inner happiness in 90% of everything I do. I am fortunate to have the happiness gene because studies suggest that 50% of happiness is gene-related; 40% is learned and 10% is out of our control.

Do you have a Grandchild who is unhappy?

If so, I think you, darling Grandmothers, can be instrumental in helping your Grandchildren. Grandchildren can be taught happiness skills!

Here are a few of my ideas to help your Grandchild find the joy in life.

1.      Self-esteem: Having self-esteem makes you proud of yourself and therefore happier. Notice your Grandchild’s special ability and play it up. Here is an example: you notice your unhappy Grandchild loves to watch birds. Buy the child binoculars, a camera and a note pad. He will acquire a skill and “feel” happiness. I said birds because I am noticing the hummingbirds in my yard as I write! 

2.      Appreciation and gratitude: Teach your Grandchildren the value of   appreciation. An example, you are walking down the street and find a penny on the ground. You pick it up and say, “I am so happy. I found a lucky penny for you.” And then proceed with a short lesson on how the smallest thing can make you “feel” happiness. I am a firm believe that a happy person is a grateful person!

TEACH YOUR GRANDCHILD THE VALUE OF GRATITUDE!

3.      Kindness and compassion: You feel happy when you are kind to others. Teach your Grandchildren the importance of being kind even if it is with only a smile or a thank you. It is a human instinct to “feel” happier when you are kind.

4.      Smile:  Studies suggest that when you smile, even if you are not happy, your mood is elevated. Teach your Grandchildren the value of smiling, because smiling reinforces happiness. Tell them to practice smiling! If you smile right now you will feel happier. Try it! 

5.      Friendship: “Grandchildren, friendship is all about quality.” Give an example of how to choose a happy best friend! Explain to your little darling that it is better to have one close happy friend in your life then a dozen unhappy ones. Explain that choice is important.

For your Grandchild who is not blessed with the “happiness gene,” explain to him or her that happiness can be learned and that alone should make your Grandchild feel happy.

Do something ‘GOOD” today: tell your Grandchildren how special they are!