When it comes to keeping the kids happy in Northern Ireland, 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 over half (52%) of children and teens here 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 two out of five (40%) 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 in NI still enjoying this tradition as they reach adult life.
And when it comes to where children from Northern Ireland like spending time the most, it seems kids’ bedrooms hold top priority, with over three quarters (76%) saying their own bedroom is the best place in the house.
This is followed by the living room (40%) and garden (20%), showing communal family areas are still a valued part of family life.
What kids really want
At a time when families are already facing increased financial pressures, the research reveals almost a third (31%) of parents here believe having more space in the home would make their children happier.
Yet worried parents should take heart. When children from Northern Ireland were asked the same question, almost two thirds (64%) of those children polled said simply having an input into the way their bedrooms were decorated would make them feel happier than making the house bigger.
And if given free rein to make changes to their homes, almost half (48%) would make the floorboards bouncy while two in five (42%) kids would turn the staircase into a slide.
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.”