When we think about what we want for our kids & families, it’s usually something along the lines of – I just want them to be happy, right? But to be honest, happiness is actually quite fleeting.
We’re really only as happy as the good or the fun things that are happening in our lives. It could be that first quiet sip of coffee in the morning before the chaos, the look on our kids’ faces when we take them out for ice cream after school, or my husband’s grin when his football team wins. These are all special, but there is such a deeper joy available to us in every circumstance.
So, here are 4 ways we can help foster more joy in our families this week:
1. IT STARTS WITH US, WE CAN MODEL JOY
What we want to foster in our families, we first have to model ourselves. We have so much influence over our families that we’ve got to ask ourselves, are we modeling joy in our homes? As leaders in our homes and communities, we want to be moms who are the thermostats, not thermometers. Hear me out – thermostats set the temperature, while thermometers only read the temperature. I want to be a thermostat. I want to be the one who sets the tone for every room I walk into – the one who intentionally sets the culture and brings the joy.
And maybe you’re thinking, that all sounds great in theory, Michelle, but you can’t expect me to be in a good mood all the time, right? I think that’s right, we’re human. But that’s the beauty of joy – it exists seperate from how we feel. So the question is, how do we re-set when we’re feeling off? Do you have strategies? Maybe it’s playing your favorite song and having a dance party, or a quick call to your mom or best friend. Perhaps it’s a hot shower, or a long run. Think what can help you shake the funk when you need it, so you can consistently be the thermostat, the one who sets the temperature – the one who brings joy.
2. FOCUS ON GRATITUDE
One of the best ways to cultivate joy is to focus on gratitude. This is such a simple step. It’s quite impossible to be grateful and angry at the same time. Guys – you literally can’t do it!!
Have you ever considered starting a family gratitude journal? It’s easy! Leave a notebook somewhere you’re likely to see, and take time when you’re together to each write something you’re grateful for – maybe during dinner or on Saturday mornings.
An even more simple approach to this, is to point out things to be grateful for throughout day. If you take your kids to Dairy Queen after school, try saying, “Isn’t this awesome? Aren’t we grateful for strawberry ice cream?” Gratitude brings joy – give it shot!
3. PLAY TOGETHER!
If you’re thinking, “Michelle if I have to pretend I’m Catboy or set up Barbie’s Dreamhouse again, it might just put me over the edge,” BELIEVE ME, I hearrrrrrr you! My encouragement would be to try to find something you like to do and invite your kids to join you! Maybe it’s a family game night, going for a walk, a scavenger hunt, or doing a craft together. Just do something fun together! And not only will it spark joy, but unstructured play is sooooo good for our kids! It helps them grow and learn – intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and behavior, and speak up for themselves. You should hear the number of teaching opportunities that come up when I’m playing with my kids!
4. SERVE OTHERS (this is one of my favorites)
Don’t over complicate this one – there are so many ways that your family can serve your community and you’d be amazed at how much joy this will bring you. It’s the whole, “it’s better to give than to receive thing!”
You can get involved in your local church, find a non-profit you’re passionate about, or just express simple acts of kindness. Watch your kids light up when you pay for the person behind you at Starbucks! Teach your kids to give compliments (when Dad gets home from work today, find one thing to compliment him on) – they’ll eat it up!
I want to hear how you mamas choose to bring joy to your families! Comment below – I want to hear all about it!