The Secret to Happy Kids

On Wednesday 14 March, Dr Tim Sharp (aka Dr Happy), leader in the field of Positive Psychology and founder and Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) of The Happiness Institute, spoke about ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing in Children and Adolescents’ at St Peters 2018 Life Symposium series.

So, what is the secret to happiness for our children and ourselves? According to Dr Sharp, while there is no single supreme ingredient for happiness, there are many things we can do to stimulate positive emotion. 

We gleaned three top tips from Dr Sharp’s presentation that every parent should know:

The Power of Listening

Listening, really listening, requires full attention and true compassion. While others may seek advice, often what is most needed is an open, attentive, empathic ear.

While Dr Sharp promotes regular, two-way communication between parents and their children, he emphasises the transformative power of listening. 

The Virtue of Good Health

Eat nutritious food, undertake regular exercise, and get enough sleep. No matter how well integrated these habits already are in our lives, there is always room for some improvement. Small things add up to big things and improving just one of these habits will enhance mental health and wellbeing in our children. Eating more vegetables, engaging in some form of movement, and taking more rest are simple, sure-fire paths to better health. 

The Beauty of Imperfection

Wabi-sabi is the ancient Japanese art of celebrating the beauty of the imperfect. According to Dr Sharp, the metaphor reminds us of the importance of accepting flaws and failures in our children. 

In a world that so often defines children by what they are not, rather than what they are, it’s important to spend more time focusing on our childrens’ strengths so that these can be cultivated for improvement across the board. This isn’t to say a failed grade on a report card, for example, should be ignored; but simply that more time should be spent reflecting on better results, which can reveal strengths that can be applied in all areas.

To find out more about Dr Tim Sharp visit:

The next symposium in the St Peters Life Series, ‘Building Future Leaders’, will be presented by William Farmer, Managing Director of Dale Carnegie Australia, on 12 June.