All parents want their children to be happy. But in our rapidly changing modern world what does that actually mean?
Telethon Kids Institute's Professor Steve Zubrick says a child's happiness isn't something that can be assessed from moment to moment and he encourages parents to take a longer-term view.
"We ourselves don't expect to be happy all the time, and this is the same for children. Their happiness will ebb and flow at different moments in their life." Professor Zubrick said.
"What parents need to do is observe their children over a longer period of time. If they are developing well and seem to be enjoying the activities they participate in, then they are probably on the right track."
"Signs they might need some support are a sudden change in their mood or level of happiness, or in withdrawal from activities, friends and family. If this persists it usually signals the need to, at least, ask, listen and encourage the child to talk about how they are."
Professor Zubrick said it was important to strike a balance between encouraging your kids and not putting too much pressure on them.
"Stress, in moderation, is a normal and healthy part of life that motivates us to achieve, says Professor Zubrick. "Children should strive to achieve goals. We don't want children to never feel any stress."
"But it's important that our children know that it is ok to fail and that we love them no matter what."
Professor Zubrick’s 8 tips for happy kids
Let kids fail – don't sweep all obstacles from a child's path and create the illusion that everything works out easily.
Give kids emotional support in the face of a challenge. Cheer them on to keep trying and reassure them with constant love.
Understand that children aren't gleeful every minute of the day – happiness can't be assessed from moment to moment, try to take a long view
Encourage kids to play sport or do activities with groups to learn new skills - but let them make their own choices
Aim for achievement, not prizes
Be kind to yourself – avoid being your own harshest critic
School education is important but it's not everything – learning continues throughout life
Try new things and find both group and individual activities to enjoy
Professor Steve Zubrick is the head of Brain and Behaviour at the Telethon Kids Institute. His passion for improving the lives of children has seen him dedicate three decades to leading ground-breaking research into children's health, education and wellbeing.