Habits that create happy families

Have you ever noticed how excited your children get about activities like coloring Easter eggs or putting up the Christmas tree? Wouldn't you like to enjoy that happiness and excitement year-round with your family? There are a few habits you can develop every day to keep that happiness happening.

Talk the talk. No, I don't mean learn how to use the slang your children may be bringing home from school. But talking about anything, everything and even nothing at all creates a happy family environment. My adult children remind me quite often that being able to talk to me about anything is one of the things they love best about me and our family.

Building boundaries. Boundaries are necessary to build a happy family. Let's face it, if the kids camp out in my room, dragging in all their toys and other items and claim the television and my laptop as their own then I'm not going to be very happy, am I? They wouldn't like it if their brother or sister borrowed clothing without asking, and the older children would not stand for the younger children talking to their boyfriend on the phone. Building boundaries so that everyone knows that they are love and respected is an important habit to develop when trying to create a happy family.

Together through tradition. Have you ever wondered why your children are the first ones to notice that the eggs haven't been colored yet or that the stockings need to be hung by the chimney with care? Bringing the family together through time honored traditions creates a feeling of unity as well as identity that children can carry with them as they grow older. It doesn't have to be an elaborate tradition. It can even be something as small or simple as eating dinner together at the dining room table. As a parent, you will have a sense of happiness too as your grown children say things like "Mom do you remember how we used to . . . growing up." I know it's one of my favorite things to hear from my grown children and one I hope to hear from my young ones many years from now.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T just a little respect. It happens to all families, where someone calls someone stupid or that their clothes are ugly. Kids can be mean, and even parents can lose patience. Keeping respect in the household makes everything that much happier. Expect respect and do your best to make it happen between all family members. For those moments when it doesn't accept it, own it and apologize for it.

Make time to play. The family that plays together stays together. Maybe it's the play of sidewalk chalk hop scotch, a video game or swimming that brings everyone together. Families that find time to play together as a family, whether it is a board game or showing up to cheer a family member on during their football game are happier together. It cuts down on jealousy and gives everyone in the family a chance to appreciate and show off their talents.

It's really simple habits that can help make a family happy. More importantly it is habits like these that will last your children a life time whether they are using these habits at work, play or building their own family.

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