I think it is so wonderful and empowering to remember that joyfulness is a virtue… we can actively choose to be joyful and practice joyfulness even when there are challenges we’re facing during our day.
This is, of course, much easier said than done. When you are running late and everyone is still getting dressed, how do you naturally respond? With joy?
I’m going to bet the answer is not always. That’s because it takes practice. And I think it’s great to involve the kids in discussions about being joyful even when we’re having a hard time… we can all learn together and children are often great teachers of this particular virtue.
Of course we don’t want kids to think they have to be “happy” all the time. Feelings and emotions are a part of life… but joyfulness comes from within and can radiate even when you are feeling sad. In fact, sadness and joy really go together (just watch the movie Inside Out for some great examples of this).
“We have a very joyous home and family. My kids are truly happy kids and get joy from most things in their day. Here are some things we do that I think contribute:
– We play. Mum and Dad join it.
-We find ways to laugh. Jokes books are a hit in our home. We tell jokes at dinner and in the car.
-We turn the music on and dance numerous times throughout the day.
-We give each other lots of praise.
-We spend a lot of time together as a family. We take it in turns to decide what we will do so each family member spends time doing their favourite things.
-We encourage our kids to have a go at everything.
-We do silly things as a family. E.g water fights.
-We hug each other when we’re feeling down.
-We talk about our feelings a lot!
-We read books that make us laugh.”
I believe that conversing about character traits while engaging in hands-on activities and exploring themes via storytelling are also powerful ways for children to understand and eventually exhibit the traits. Here are some more resources that can help with this:
Books and Activities on Joy from Meaningful Mama
One of the best ways to teach our kids to develop greater joyfulness in their lives is to teach them the joy that comes from being kind to others. The concept of bucket-filling is a great way to teach them this concept. (Go here for an explanation and some easy activities.)
What other thoughts or resources do you have about how to teach joyfulness to young children?
To browse more character building activities on my website, click here. You may also enjoy my ebook with 100+ activities in an easy-to-use checklist format, Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun, or my book for families How to Build Character at Home.