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Why are our children the least happy in Europe?

A study published last week in the annual Good Childhood Report by the Children's Society, has found that children in the UK are the unhappiest in Europe. The study, which was run before the COVID 19 crisis unfolded, and focussed on 15 year olds, found that only 64% reported being satisfied when questioned about schools, friends and their sense of purpose. Children from the United Kingdom had the lowest satisfaction rating of children from across the rest of Europe. That's quite a sobering statistic for parents to read, but what can we do to 'up' the happy-o-meter?

One of the main reasons cited by children taking part in the study was fear of failure. Other factors were the rise of child poverty in the UK, and school pressures which makes for sober reading in light of the added worries and challenges that many of our children have experienced this year so far. So what can we do to support our children as they go through their school journeys?

Five ways you can help your child enjoy school (and take some pressure off)

1. Help them get an early night Studies have shown that children that get plenty of sleep, learn better.

Emphasise the magic word "yet" As in, "I haven't learned how to write my name, yet."

3. Read together Whether it's Mutiny on the Bounty or the Argos catalogue, sometimes even reading one sentence ( or one word each ), will be enough at night to help them develop and love this all important skill.

4. Don't stop being a learner Children learn from mimicking parents and other adults. Show them you still enjoy learning and how great it is to learn new things.

5. Don't be a helicopter

Don't hover over every single thing your child does outside school. Children don't need helicopters, or tigers (there's even a post-tiger parenting Facebook group gathering pace focussed on 'unparenting' and gentle parenting). If your child makes a mistake, let them, it's okay and they will eventually learn to do it the right way. If they don't do their homework, let the school deal with it so they can learn the consequences themselves. Sometimes they need to learn some things on their own.

We'd love to hear what you think about this year's Childhood Report. Login to comment.

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