The A to Z of a happy child

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We know the signs to look out for when it comes to depression, anxiety and problems coping in school. But do we know how to identify a healthy, happy child? What does a contented, well-adjusted child do that sets them apart?  
    
A - Affection: Although each child expresses themselves differently, happy children enjoy giving and receiving affection.

B - Behaviour: Happy children don't need to seek out attention or get into trouble to impress their friends - so there are seldom calls from the principle or detention slips in their cases.

C - Confidence: Believing in themselves comes easily and they aren't afraid to stand up for themselves. They don't do this for affirmation, but simply to showcase their abilities which they are proud of.

D - Dependent on themselves: Happy children enjoy their independence and learning to do things on their own.  They may ask for help from time to time but prefer to master tasks through trial and error.

E - Eats normally: Neither over or under-eats, with a healthy appetite.

F - Friendships: Both introverted and extroverted children will enjoy the company of others if they are content and will ask to have friends over, go to birthday parties or chat on the phone.

G - Grades are consistent: Happy children aren't necessarily straight-A students, but their grades remain the same or increase gradually.  

H - Happy signs: Smiling often, giggling and laughing, and excited story-telling are par for the course. Not to be mistaken for another type of H - hyperactivity.

I - Issues are few: Although happy children can also battle with learning problems, adjustment issues and other common problems, they do tend to have fewer incidences of anxiety and stress and can cope better with life's curve balls.

J - Just do it: The poster children for Nike, they don't hesitate too much, make decisions easily, know what they want and seldom seek reassurance.

K - Kleenex are used sparingly: All children cry... when they fall and get hurt or when they are disciplined. However, happy children tend to cry less for things like not getting their own way, being teased or losing a game.
 
L - Loving: These children aren't bullies and won't be found teasing others, being aggressive or purposefully shutting others out.

M - Mood swings have a small arc: There aren't extreme changes in behaviour and moods.  Fluctuations are usually due to circumstances - such as a sudden outburst of joy at the announcement of a new puppy.

N - No drugs: Happy children are more immune to peer pressure, and drugs, alcohol and smoking don't seem as enticing to them because they don't have to impress anyone.

O - Occupy themselves: Happy children know how to keep themselves busy and aren't easily bored.

P - Parental respect: Happy children don't have a chip on their shoulder and are slow to back chat, be cheeky or have temper tantrums.  

Q - Quitting doesn't happen much: Obstacles are overcome and they tend to have a built-in tenacity. So they will attempt that handstand over and over again until they get it right.

R - Role playing:
When they play with friends, they tend to take on mothering or protective roles, are often the hero in the plot and don't show excessive anger or meanness.

S - Sickness is rare: Although all children go through their bouts of measles and flu, regular stomach aches, headaches, moans and groans are usually signs of underlying anxiety.

T - Tree climbers: Active children who don't spend too many hours in front of the TV or PlayStation tend to be happier.

U - Understanding: Happy children are empathetic and in touch with their feelings.  When you explain why they can’t get something they want, they are quicker to understand than an unhappy child.

V - Vegetable lovers:
Children who are fed a healthy diet and don't live off junk food are happier - not necessarily in the exact moment they are eating their peas - but overall.

W - Worry less:
Happy children tend to take things in their stride and have fewer negative reactions to major life .

X - eXpression comes easily:
Contented children express their feelings and don't bottle up their emotions.

Y - Why, why, why?:
Happy children are inquisitive and ask lots of questions.  They are eager to explore and discover new things.

Z - Zzzz:
Happy children sleep well, have fewer nightmares and wake up easily in the mornings.

What do you think makes a happy child?

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