1) Joy is infectious.
Children model their mood, behaviour and attitude on the adults around them. If we show joy and enthusiasm our children will too.
2) Make things Magical.
Imaginary experiences activate the brain in exactly the same way as real-life experiences. Give children some magic in their lives through make-believe and pretending.
3) Put our cynicism on hold.
Put on your crazy specs and see the world through the eyes of a child and you might just be surprised at how amazing it is.
4) Nothing is impossible.
Want to go to the moon? Make a rocket out of cardboard boxes and pretend you are walking in low gravity around the setting. Visit the bottom of the deepest oceans or the darkest, most enchanted forests, all through a little imagination and joy.
5) Put on your dancing shoes.
Moving to music is a uniquely human form of joy and all children can experience this simple joy of movement. You don’t need to be a good dancer, just full of joy.
6) Make every day special.
Every day gives us opportunities to provide joy for our children. Remember those days will never come again and we have only one chance to make a childhood magical.
7) Support and guide rather than restrict and undermine.
Help children find joy by supporting them to play rather than constantly telling them to stop. Make time and space for play.
8) Sing it loud, sing it proud.
Singing is another unique way we experience joy. It is neurologically rich and can even help children overcome anxiety.
9) Spread the love.
Children who feel safe, cared for, nurtured and loved are much more likely to experience joy. Make sure all of our children feel safe and cared for (even the badly behaved ones)
10) Make a little mischief.
Joy is not always about following the rules. Change things up to make it fun. Don’t always stick to the plan, just see where the joy takes you.
11) Explore Creativity on their terms.
Support children to explore resources and media on their terms not merely how the adult has told them to. The simple joy of creation is at its strongest when children can freely create.
12) When you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you.
Smiling is a fundamental aspect of nurturing and a vital way we show children we care. Remember children have seen less smiles over the pandemic due to face-masks.
13) Knock Knock?
Be funny and fun. Sense of humour, jokes and downright silliness are an intrinsic part of a joyful childhood. Never be afraid to be silly or laugh out loud at a joke about poo!
14) PLAY, PLAY and PLAY some more.
Play is a fundamental process that is neurologically off the scale in terms of its potential to build young brains and creates moments of pure joy that can last a lifetime.
Article written by Ben Kingston-Hughes
Ben Kingston-Hughes is an international keynote speaker, author and multi award-winning trainer. He is also the Managing Director of Inspired Children and has worked with vulnerable children across the UK for over 30 years. He has appeared on television several times working on a variety of children's projects and his distinctive blend of humour, neuroscience and real-life practical experiences have made his training invaluable for anyone working with children. His new book, "A Very Unusual Journey into Play" is now available.
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