Creative Child

We Can Raise Happier Kids. They Just Need to Stop Thinking About Themselves.

by Deborah Song


So how do we teach our kids to have purpose outside of ourselves and focus more on the well-being of others and the community around us? Here are some easy and practical ways to start.

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  1. Model giving behavior. It’s no secret that kids model parents’ behavior, particularly ones we wish they wouldn’t emulate. The good news, however, is that kids also mimic our good behavior. They may even remember it more because it’s what inspires them. Kayla Abramowitz was just a normal girl who spent an inordinate amount of time waiting in hospitals because of her medical ailment. But instead of becoming a victim, she enlisted her Girl Scout troop and started collecting DVDs and other educational entertainment material to donate to hospitals. When I interviewed her mom about how she raised such a caring child, she didn’t mention any particular instruction besides exposing her kids to giving back from a young age. Out of pure necessity, her young children followed their mom around as she collected leftover bagels from bakeries and delivered them to shelters.
  2. Participate in chores. Chores give kids a sense of responsibility, accountability, and belonging. One longitudinal study, done over a period of 25 years, found that the best predictor for young adults’ success in their mid-20s was whether they participated in household tasks at age 3 or 4. Those early shared responsibilities extended to a sense of responsibility in other areas of their lives. Chores are a great way to contribute. Whether it’s helping put toys away, taking out the trash, being the light monitor, or helping to set the table, giving back to the family through chores teaches kids to take the focus off themselves. Kids who participated in chores were found to be happier. Just as our parental love grows for our children the more we invest in them, so will our kids love for the family grow the more they invest in the family.
  3. Start small. When it comes to action, the big deterrent for small kids is that they often don’t feel empowered. What difference can a little person make in such a big world after all? But encourage them to start small because small efforts matter. One way to empower our kids is to highlight the importance of some of the seemingly mundane problems around them. Lunchtime loneliness, for example, is a big contributing factor to teenage depression, which we all know leads to a decline in self esteem and even academic performance. Does your child have a friend at school who doesn’t have a lunchtime buddy? Or perhaps more applicable in today’s climate of social distancing where everyone’s in need of a lunchtime buddy, is there a friend to whom your child can reach out to and send an encouraging message? Maybe it’s to grandma or grandpa. If your child is too young to write a note, even a simple picture can paint a thousand kind words.

Deborah Song is the founder of, a cruelty-free company committed to creating travel accessories that help travelers journey with ease, efficiency and elegance. She loves to travel the globe in pursuit of good food, wider life perspectives and great adventure stories with her kids. Deborah is a Canadian-born, mompreneur and Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master’s in journalism from New York University. You can find her travel stories at

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