No parent likes to see their child sad, and the same is true of other guardians, family members, caregivers. Whether your little one had a bad day, is dealing with some sort of crisis, or just needs a bit of cheering up, you’ll undoubtedly want to find ways to bring a smile to their face. Gifts and other surprises offer a nearly foolproof way to turn your kiddo’s frown upside down when they’re down in the dumps, and there’s sure to be a good fit for you and your child.
Surprise them with a new toy.
There’s a reason that joyful moments are so often compared to Christmas morning—everyone loves to receive gifts, not to mention the excitement of watching someone you love open something you’ve picked out just for them. For most kids, toys are the fastest way to their hearts, and they don’t have to be the latest PlayStation or another costly investment. Companies like Mattel have created countless options for classic toys that won’t break the bank. Chances are, your kiddo loves Barbie, Hot Wheels, American Girl, Fisher-Price, Monster High, or another iconic Mattel brand. The same principle can apply to other types of gifts, too—surprise your voracious reader with a book or otherwise highlight a favorite passion!
Plan a trip to someplace exciting.
Prefer to offer experiences instead of items as a gift? That can be just as effective in brightening your child’s day. You’ve most likely seen clips across the web that highlight surprise trips to locations like Disneyland. But that’s far from the only option. For instance, does your little one adore giraffes? Consider a trip to Lake Tobias, a wildlife park in Halifax, PA. Not only can they meet the giraffes (and plenty of other animals from the safari and beyond), but they can even let the giraffes eat from their hands if you arrive at snack time!
Cook (or order in) their favorite meal.
You wouldn’t know it by the uneaten servings of vegetables they let go untouched, but plenty of children have a genuine love of food, at least when it’s items they enjoy. So, why wouldn‘t you take advantage of this insight and offer your little one their favorite food? If it isn’t the healthiest of options, that’s okay—the point here isn’t to be named parent of the year for feeding them the most nutrient-rich foods. Instead, you’re trying to bring a smile to their face, even if that means picking up a Happy Meal.
Include lots of little joys in every day.
When your little one is feeling especially downtrodden, it makes sense to offer them a great gift or a grandiose surprise like a trip as you try to boost their mood. However, not every joy-inducing gesture must be on a large scale. It’s just as important to focus your attention on life’s little moments and the everyday happenings that can brighten your child’s day (as well as your own). Despite being little, these moments can have a big impact—as your kiddo grows, some of their fondest childhood memories will undoubtedly feature those notes you left in their lunchbox or your regular at-home movie nights.
Just like grown-ups, kids can find themselves facing bad days and rough patches. As parents, we want to help them feel better—just like we’d support them through a cold or stomachache, we want to care for their mental health, too. In more severe instances, of course, you should always consult a therapist or other professional. But, when they’re dealing with a challenging day or some other temporary sadness, you may be all they need to bring a smile back to their face.