In the pursuit of your child’s ‘happyness’?

This interview with 'happyness' coach, Murali Sundaram, helps you turn that frown on your child's face into a broad smile!

By Anusha Vincent

In the pursuit of your child’s ‘happyness’?


If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap)

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap)

If you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap clap)

Are your children clapping? Or, do you sometimes look at them and wonder if God forgot to fashion a happiness bone in their little bodies, replacing it instead with a big ‘sulk button’?

There was a time when a chilled mango drink on a hot day could send children into peals of laughter, and a toy fashioned out of straw and stone could keep the smile on their faces intact for days. Those were generations of children who had mastered the art of finding happiness from within; the art of finding happiness simply by… being themselves!

But, worryingly, this age of i-Kids seems to associate happiness with material conquests. These youngsters are looking for joy in all the wrong places. As a parent, what can you do, then?

Happyness coach Murali Sundaram gives ParentCircle readers some handy tips!

What is happiness?

One of the definitions of happiness is ‘an inner state of well-being which enables you to profit from your highest thoughts, wisdom, intelligence, common sense, emotions, health, and spiritual values in your life.’ Happiness is an emotional state which is an experience and not a concept. I personally feel that it is the foundation of existence.

How happy are children today?

Children are always happy. They have the unique gift of finding happiness in whatever they do. It's only the ideologies of parents and subliminal beliefs of TV that disturb the happiness. Parents should give kids the space and opportunity to explore their true inner selves and potential, without pushing their beliefs and ideas about life onto them.

How can children be taught the importance of happiness?

Here is my curriculum for lifelong happiness - The first chapter is clear awareness. The second chapter, deep compassion. The third, joyful thoughts, words and actions for the benefit of all. Finally, having infinite patience and viewing everything as a blessing.

Yoga is one of the best mediums to kick-start this and it should be made a part of a kid’s life from the age of eight years. Other methods include music, dance, arts, gardening, nature and adventure.

What can parents do to ensure their children grow up to be happy individuals?

Parents have a crucial role in imparting the importance of happiness. First, they have to de-stress and find ways to express their own true inner happiness. They can't pretend to be happy. Kids are smart and easily read their parents’ emotions. So, parents should share their life experiences with their kids during the allotted family time every single day to foster a sense of finding joy.

Can one achieve a permanent state of happiness? Commonly, most of us only feel bursts of happiness…

Actually, we are born happy and can remain happy always – of course, bursts of unhappiness will come and go.

If you were to chart out an everyday happiness schedule for children, what would it look like?

    • Wake up early
    • Practice breathing and yoga for 30 minutes
    • Read for 15-30 minutes
    • Clean the house/desk for five to 10 minutes
    • Go to school
    • Play outdoors for a minimum of one hour
    • Study/read books
    • Write stories/a journal
    • Family circle time (whole family to sit down and discuss key learnings for the day)
    • Early dinner
    • Strictly no watching TV (may be 30 minutes if unavoidable, but not before sleeping)
    • Gardening/participating in community services or charity activities once a week

How can you teach children that material gains can only produce temporary happiness, when, in fact, money is very important for a comfortable existence?

Well, teach children how to earn and manage money. Also, teach them to donate a portion of their earnings to charity. Sensitise them to the fact that there is more to life than money. Also, when yoga is taught to kids from a very young age, they will understand that true happiness lies in connecting with their true selves and not through material gains. They will develop an attitude of ‘detached attachment’ in the long run.



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