4 unexpected things that affect your children’s mood

As a parent, your child’s mood plays a significant role in your overall peace of mind. When your children are happy and calm, you can get chores done and actually feel sane. On the other hand, if they are irritable, angry, or sad, you will hardly find the time to do anything besides worry and panic.

The good news is that there are specific, everyday factors that affect children’s moods. Most parents don’t even notice these things but understanding and addressing them can make your life easier. Here are 4 things that affect your child’s mood.

Screen time

Screen time can help you keep your children occupied and engaged. And there are fun and educational shows that teach them valuable lessons, making the screen time worth it.

The problem is that too much screen time can affect your child’s mood in a myriad of ways. One study by the AAP found that children who spent more than two hours in front of a screen every day had psychological difficulties.

Some of the negative effects of too much screen time discovered include increased irritability, depression, mood swings and tantrums, and trouble sleeping. All of these mean less peace of mind for you as a parent. 

Our suggestion

The obvious solution is to limit your children’s screen time. However, this creates another problem for you because you have to find other activities to keep your children engaged.

Some activities you can try include:

  • Get them some old school games and easy puzzles
  • Have them make their own cartoon characters with crayons
  • Let them go outside and play
  • Have them build a fort

Poor communication

Child psychologists have found that children often misbehave and throw tantrums as a way to communicate. They believe that kids do these things to get their parents’ attention and communicate some desires that they have.

That’s why great communication can help to keep your kids well behaved and less likely to act out, ruining your day. 

Our suggestion

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to create and maintain an open line of communication with your children:

  • Eat meals together. Even though you may have very different foods, eating meals together can give your children a chance to speak up and say what’s on their minds. Many families choose dinner time because it’s the end of the day and they can easily talk about recent events.
  • Ask specific questions. Every parent knows that “how was school” is always followed with “fine.” Instead, ask specific questions about teachers and classmates that your children may have mentioned. Psychologists found that children are more comfortable sharing when they are not the center of discussion.
  • Accept that their feelings are valid. As an adult, the world of children is very foreign to you. It’s very easy to dismiss your kid’s complaints as childish and silly. But these complaints are real to your child and acknowledging that can help them open up further.

Dull colors

Colors have such a powerful impact on a child’s psychological development. That’s why new parents are always advised to select bright, bold colors for the nursery. They can be exciting for the kids, stimulate their curiosity, and make them more pleasant. 

But this doesn’t necessarily mean dull colors are bad. It also doesn’t mean that you can automatically change your child’s mood by exposing them to bright colors. However, by paying attention to the color of your child’s walls and clothes, you increase the chances that they’ll be in a great mood.

Here are some of the most exciting colors and the ways that they can affect your child

  • Red: the color red is extremely stimulating and is often associated with excitement and strength (think superman’s cape)
  • Pink: Even though it’s commonly associated with femininity, pink is actually the color of calmness. Think of it as the lighter, more passive sibling of the color red.
  • Yellow: Some studies suggest that the color yellow is a memory and concentration booster. It is also the color of the sun and can represent life, energy, and freedom.
  • Blue and Green: Blue and green are very common colors for child and adult bedrooms and they can stimulate feelings of peace and calmness.
  • Orange: Orange lies between the other warm colors and even though it’s less stimulating than red, it’s more so than yellow.  

Our suggestion

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach here. One thing that does help is dressing your kids in colors that they love. More often than not, these are brightly colored clothes with cartoon characters and whimsical prints. You can even get a personalized newborn baseball cap along with some brightly colored clothes.

Be sure to keep this in mind the next time you shop for their clothes. It may just keep them satisfied and well behaved.

The wrong foods

Sooner or later, every parent learns how sugar affects children. They become hyperactive and giddy, followed by a sugar crash that sends them straight to sleep. But scientists have found that some other foods can affect your child’s mood as well.

Children react differently to these, and some kids may experience a more severe reaction than others. But as a parent, you want to take every win you can so we’re going to share some examples here. Some of the foods that affect children’s mood include:

Artificial coloring: Artificial coloring can affect children in such profound ways that countries like Norway and Austria have banned it. It has been linked to anxiety, hyperactivity, ADHD, and certain behavioral changes.

Preservatives: Preservatives like Sodium benzoate, Monosodium glutamate, and some nitrates have been shown to cause behavioral problems in children including hyperactivity and mood swings.

Our suggestion

This is a tricky one because you can’t exactly cut out all foods that contain artificial coloring, sugar, or preservatives. What you can do is watch to see which ones affect your children the most. 

It’s helpful to keep a food journal to see how your children react to certain foods. You can then limit their consumption accordingly.