I was really keen to hear what research would say about what makes children happy. Ikea sent me their regional findings as well as their national ones. Nottingham seems pretty reflective of the national findings
Thankfully we can all achieve these without spending any money
When it comes to keeping the kids happy in Nottingham, new research reveals it’s not all about expensive holidays and a playroom full of toys.
The study from IKEA shows the key to a happy family life is actually closer to home, with two thirds (66%) of children and teens in Nottingham saying spending time with their family makes them happiest of all.
When asked about their happiest memories of the year so far, children named moments such as “family dinners at home”, “learning to ride a bike” and “birthday parties at home” – suggesting the simple things in life are still a treasured part of growing up.
The heart of the home
The research also shows the evening meal is still at the heart of a happy home, with almost a third (30%) of children saying spending time around the dining table makes them happiest.
In fact, of all aspects of family life, eating dinner together remains important for young people throughout their childhood, with one in three (29%) 15-18 year olds still enjoying this tradition as they reach adult life.
And when it comes to where children in Nottingham like spending time the most, it seems kids’ bedrooms hold top priority, with three quarters (75%) saying their own bedroom is the best place in the house.
What kids really want
At a time when families are already facing increased financial pressures, the research reveals almost a fifth (43%) of parents in Nottingham believe having enough space in the house for children to play would make their children happier.
Yet worried parents should take heart. When children were asked the same question, over half (51%) of those polled said simply having an input into the way their bedrooms were decorated would make them feel happier than living in a bigger house (32%).
And if given free rein to make changes to their homes, over a half (53%) would turn the staircase into a slide, whilst another half (51%) would make the floorboards bouncy.
IKEA spokesperson, Gemma Arranz, said: “Finding ways to make children part of the main living space is the main concern for parents in Nottingham, with almost three quarters (71%) believing this is the key to a happy family life.
As part of the research, IKEA have been working with psychotherapist and children’s counsellor Phillip Hodson of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to give advice for families wanting to make their homes a happier place.
Here are Phillip’s top tips for making your children’s home life happier:
“Plan to do a proper family dinner once weekly letting the kids help choose and prepare the food.
“Always consult the children about bedroom furnishings. You don’t have to accept black walls and ceilings but their space needs to be personal.
“Often the most precious present you can give your child is your time – even if you just listen/play.”