HOW TO KEEP A HAPPY CHILD

“He’s always so happy!” and “Look at that smile” these are comments we get a lot when out and about with Caspian. And that is of course wonderful, because generally he is very smiley and happy and loves engaging with those around him. He’s a joy to be with, always wakes up with a smile in the morning and only seems to get upset if he’s very tired, hungry or in pain, which is all understandable and natural. So how did we end up with such a happy chappy?

After reading some interesting articles, I discovered the school of thought believing your temperament is partly based on your genes. I was flicking through old photos on my phone trying to find one of myself from this time last year, as it was when I first started to show in my pregnancy. I stumbled across a scan photo from my 20 weeks appointment and was reminded of something that stuck with me then, too. In the scan photos we were given it looks as if Caspian is actually smiling. It made me giggle then hoping that this was a sign of how he would be. And seeing it again made me think that he truly must have a joyful and easygoing nature.

Baby boy at 20 weeks inside the wombHaving fun at 20 weeks

A lot of people have pointed out that I – and Daddy Long Legs, too – both are very calm and that I seemed so contented while carrying Caspian that this could be the reason for his general mild and happy demeanor. I don’t know if there is any truth to this? When he was in the womb I felt a lot more confident in my ability to protect and care for him than perhaps I do now. I gave up alcohol, ate healthily, still exercised, got plenty of sleep and made sure I took the recommended vitamins. I felt good about myself and worried very little. This carried over into the first few months of his life, as I felt I was well prepared and we had everything we needed to give Caspian the best start. When breastfeeding was a success I couldn’t have been happier.

Now that he is growing and on the verge of crawling I actually feel a lot less confident and Daddy Long Legs laughs at my clucking, as he refers to it. I find it hard not to worry, as I’m probably a bit of a control freak and get very unsure if I feel out of my depth. I hope to find a better balance, as I don’t want to pass on my worries or anxieties to Caspian thereby making him unsure and scared of life, and with an active boy I know there’ll be plenty of situations where he’ll injure himself – hopefully never seriously – while playing and exploring. We will aim to provide a calm, balanced and encouraging environment for him, filled with love. So I hope he’ll keep smiling as I think we need more of that in the world.

I remember these heart shaped stickers from when I was a child in Denmark with the slogan SMIL – det smitter (Smile – it’s contagious). People would wear them on their overcoats out and about to encourage better interaction between strangers. And Caspian reminds me of this all the time, as when he looks at you and breaks into a great big semi-toothless grin dimples and all you just can’t help but smile back. So it’s something to remember when we engage with others – even people we don’t know on the street, that a simple smile can make someone else’s day and maybe make them worry a little less!

What makes your little one smile?

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One thought on “HOW TO KEEP A HAPPY CHILD

  1. Your twitter question jumped right out – Are we born happy? I think genes/personality traits will always be there from Day 0 but our environment can help nurture and impact on how our genes are expressed. My two older children were as different as chalk and cheese right from the day we brought them home. One was a mild smiley baby who hardly ever cried and the other, we were not prepared for her screaming! We were in total shock as parents because we had thought they would be similar in temperament. But over the years, they’ve both changed and both have their own personalities! we try to foster peaceful parenting but I’m not perfect and have more than my share of being grumpy. I guess that’s the beauty of nature!

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