Happiness Tips

Every Monday, I share a family happiness tip — something that works for our family, that you might wish to try with your own.

This week’s tip is: explore the world at every opportunity. When you travel with your kids — whether it’s a day trip or a full-fledged vacation — you can learn so much about the world in terms of history, geography and the diversity of cultures and customs. Use family trips to spark curiosity, conversations and understanding.

One of our favorite places to visit as a family is Washington, DC, and each time we’ve gone, the kids have gotten a deeper, richer education about our country’s founding. Getting an up-close view of American history has inspired spirited family discussions…


Join me every Monday for Family Happiness Tip Day, when I share tips that have been helpful for our family, and you’re welcome to try em out with yours.

Today’s tip is: put stuff back in an established place when you’re done using it. Isn’t it positively aggravating and frustrating to do a wild-goose chase for your keys or the kids’ mittens when you’re on your way out the door? Searching for that last-minute item can set you behind for the day, and send you on your way filled with angst and stress. Instead, take the time to establish a place to put those frequently misplaced items, and try to get the whole family into the habit of returning things…


Using Please & Thank You

Every Monday, I share a family happiness tip — something that works for our family, that you may want to try with your own.

This week’s tip is: remember to say “please” and “thank you.” These days, courtesy isn’t so common anymore. It’s essential to explain to your kids the importance of using respectful language, and also teach them basic politeness tenets like looking others in the eye and extending a hand to shake. Model these behaviors yourself in public and at home, and praise your kids when you see them following your lead.

More than once, I’ve had store clerks, restaurant servers and teacher tell me how unusual it is that my kids use good manners and treat others politely. To…


Giving Back to the Community

Every Monday is Family Happiness Tip Day, where I share something that’s worked for us, and you’re welcome to try it with your family as well.

Today’s tip is: find a way to give back. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what your job title is, or how many square feet are in your house. By themselves, those things a happy life do not make. You’ve also got to acknowledge and appreciate your blessings, and use them to give back to others in need. Believe it or not, the purest and most lasting joy you’re likely to experience will come from helping someone other than yourself.

Find a way to consistently add positive value to an individual, group, or…


Be an On-Time Family

Every Monday, I share a family happiness tip — something that works for our family, that you might wish to try with your own.

This week’s tip is: become an on-time (or early!) family. How often are you and your kids scrambling around, frantically trying to get to school or work or soccer on time? Make a pledge to try to make the answer “almost never.” Building a few extra minutes into your schedule isn’t hard — but it has immense value. Timeliness reflects well on your character and contributes greatly to peace of mind. Get behind a slow car? Little guy spill juice in the car? No worries! These erstwhile annoyances won’t set you off because you’ve got a few extra…


Go Visit Your Public Library

Every Monday is Family Happiness Tip Day, where I share something that’s worked for us, and you’re welcome to try it with your family as well.

Today’s tip is: recognize the value of the public library, and make sure your kids are comfortable there. From getting lost in fantastical worlds to exploring intriguing topics in-depth, libraries are invaluable resources for kids and adults alike. By providing affordable access to a managed collection of resources and archives, libraries democratize knowledge—and they’re staffed with eager, knowledgeable professionals whose guidance can turbocharge a quest for facts or understanding.

A trip to the library was always a treat for my kids when they were young, browsing around and feeling empowered to make their own choices….


Homework Comes Before Free Time

Not only is it Monday, which is Family Happiness Tip day here at AndreaReiser.com, but it’s also my kids’ first day of school. So today’s tip, which is something that has worked for our family and you’re welcome to try with your own, concerns homework habits.

This week’s tip is: homework comes before free time. No exceptions. Now, I’ll tell you that I implemented this policy as soon as the kids started getting homework, back in early elementary school. I’ve always been a big believer that even if the kids had six hours before bed and only half an hour of homework, they should tackle it before engaging in the fun stuff (although I know it’s not necessarily a prudent policy for…


Name Your Blessings

Every Monday, I share a family happiness tip—something that works for our family, that you may want to try with your own.

This week’s tip is: don’t just count your blessings—name them. Practicing gratitude underscores that the opportunities, privileges and material possessions most kids enjoy don’t just pop out of thin air. Try having a minute of thanks in the morning where you and your kids each name a few things you’re thankful for. Whether the list includes a favorite toy, a good friend, or a recovering from a sore throat, this tradition will start the day off in a positive frame of mind.

If mornings are too hectic, try a minute of thanks at dinner. It makes for pleasant mealtime…


Say Thank You!

Join me every Monday for Family Happiness Tip Day, when I share tips that have been helpful for our family, and you’re welcome to try em out with yours.

Today’s Family Happiness Tip is to model grateful behavior. “Do as I say, not as I do” is, at best, an ineffective parenting strategy. The values your kids pick up and embrace throughout life aren’t the ones you nag them into learning, but the ones they see you living out. So set a good example by saying “thank you” sincerely and often.

Every day, there are so many opportunities for you to model gratitude to your kids. For example, thank the waitress who delivers your food, the cashier who rings you up…


Divvy Up Chores

Every Monday is Family Happiness Tip Day, where I share something that’s worked for us, and you’re welcome to try it with your family as well.

Today’s tip is to divvy up household chores and insist that they’re done daily. It takes a lot to keep a house relatively clean, in good repair, and fairly tidy. And just because you’re the adult does not mean you should do it all! Make sure everyone contributes. Even small children can put their toys away. Not only will this keep the house clean, it will teach a healthy work ethic and demonstrate the value of sharing responsibilities.

It’s up to you whether your family is three or four or six or eight separate individuals living…