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5 Steps for a Happy Family

  • Be happy!
    Creating and maintaining a strong, happy, and healthy family is every parent's goal. But sometimes just minimizing the morning off-to-school chaos is a victory. The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler offers more than 200 strategies. Start with these five.

    Photos: Lisa Foust Prater

  • 1. Let your kids pick their rewards and punishments.

    Research reinforces that kids who set their goals, make their schedules, and evaluate their work are able to gain greater control over their lives.

  • 2. Don't worry about family dinner.

    Feiler says it doesn't work with work week and school schedules. He suggests trying a family breakfast on the weekend, bedtime snack, or weekend meal.

  • 3. Tell your story.

    Children who know more about their parents, grandparents, and other relatives -- and their struggles in life -- have higher self-esteem and greater confidence.

  • 4. Ditch the big sex talk.

    Talk to kids about proper names for body parts when they're toddlers. Engage them in a series of conversations about it before age 10.

  • 5. Make time to have fun.

    Make sure that the good times outweigh the bad.

Creating and maintaining a strong, happy, and healthy family is every parent's goal.

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