10 Easy Ways to Make Your Family’s Day Brighter

Try these tricks on for size—upbeat tunes, surprise cookies, love notes—and watch your home instantly become a happier place.

Cheryl Butler,

image of a happy family

Family time these days can be hard to come by. With work obligations, crazy kid-activity schedules, and the normal upkeep and errands we all do just to keep our homes and family humming along, it’s easy to get stuck in the daily grind and forget to focus on life’s sweet and happy moments.

Here are 10 simple ways to make your family’s day a little brighter.

1. Stop Complaining.

In simple terms, think of the whimsical and enchanting characters in Winnie the Pooh. Pooh Bear is tenderhearted and loveable, no matter the situation. Eeyore, on the other hand, may be adorable but he’s a total drain with his “woe is me” attitude. One study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that optimists, as a group, tend to live longer than pessimists. Be mindful of any complaining you do both at home and elsewhere and watch the positive ripple effect it has on those you love.

2. Play Upbeat Music.

Uplifting, energizing tunes can instantly change the mood in your home. Get into the habit of playing catchy, happy music when you’re family is all together and watch your home’s atmosphere brighten.

3. Check Out Happy Websites.

Sometimes you just need to stop, breathe, and click! The internet is full of bright treasures so when you’re family needs a “happy boost” try a few of these websites to perk things up in your home. Warning, some of them are contagious!

4. Bake Cookies.

There’s something comforting about returning home from a chaotic day at school or work to find a plate of warm, homemade cookies or brownies waiting. It doesn’t have to be a weekly event, even better when it’s totally random, but the results will bring lasting smiles.

5. Prepare a Favorite Meal.

We often get locked in to the mindset that a person’s favorite meal—homemade mac and cheese, a clambake, a Chinese smorgasbord—are reserved for special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. But when we serve up a fave menu item out of the blue, it can take the entire family to their happy place.

6. Plan a Surprise.

We can be such creatures of habit that life can become rote and dull! Shake things up by planning an unexpected surprise for your family. Purchase movie tickets on a school night. Have a movie night where you watch your family videos. Take a day off from work and school and enjoy your home or go on a mini road trip. Bring on the giggles!

7. Smile.

The simplest and most effective way to evoke a harmonious atmosphere is to smile. It costs nothing! You can smile at any time, any place. It can be contagious and make everyone you care about feel great.

8. Give Genuine Compliments.

When life gets busy, we tend to focus on our overwhelming “to do” lists and scurry from one task to the next forgetting about the people who make a difference in our lives. One of the quickest ways to spread some sunshine is to look for the good in people and stop and comment on it.

9. Leave a Love Note.

We all love praise. Even better is when it’s in written form. A quick note in your child’s lunchbox about how much you love him, or a beautiful card tucked away in your spouse/significant other’s briefcase reminding them of an intimate moment that was shared in the past can put a spring in their step!

10. Encourage Gratitude.

No matter what obstacles seem to block our individual or family’s path, when we reflect on all that we have to be grateful for, our entire emotional mindset can shift. Comment aloud in front of your family about the blessings you have in your life. A safe, cozy home, a fuzzy puppy, a favorite playground in the community, internet access, a car to get your family back and forth to their favorite activities, healthy children—the list goes on and on. Focus on what’s good and everything can be instantly brighter.

Image of happy family © Shutterstock

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