- The Fam
This post is part of a parenting series focused on raising happy, resilient children. Read more about this series HERE.
Laughter is what I think of when I think of pure joy and happiness. I want my children to be enveloped in laughter as well as skilled at evoking it because really, it is capable of solving all the earth’s ills.
I love when the girls express joy with laughter. A few weeks ago, Little Lime heard some geese flying overhead squawking and she exclaimed “Mommy the baby birdies are laughing!” She started laughing and said “it makes lily laugh too!” Which made me laugh and got me to thinking about laughter’s role in our daily lives.
Do you considered laughter and humor a tool in raising resilient and self-soothing children? As far as I’m concerned, there is a time and place for seriousness, but for the most part I think childhood should be filled with laughter.
Don’t get me wrong, the realm of seriousness is where I feel the most comfortable (I am an oldest child), but NOT taking life too seriously is truly an undervalued quality in our culture where children are pushed to do more and more constantly. Laughter brings balance back to childhood.
How does humor help children develop resiliency, as well as master skills for life-long happiness?
Adaptability. With humor in your back pocket you can learn to make the best of things. Also, children that are familiar to the quickness of humor find it easier to transition from one thing to the next.
Confidence. Humor encourages spontaneity and risk taking, which often leads to children that are more confident. Also, when you take risks with humor you leave a door open for healthy rejection. It is better for kids to learn how to deal with rejection through humor and with friends while young, and not when they are a bit older and experiencing more peer pressure. This allows our children time to process and learn how to be comfortable with who they are, regardless of what their peers think.
Optimism. Children who have a developed sense of humor are more optimistic, and in turn live a more hopeful life.
Friendship. Don’t you think of friendship when you think of laughter? I also think of safety. When you can share a belly laugh with someone, you feel safe and loved. This is what other children feel when your children are capable of sharing humor and laughter.
Health. Humor and laughter are an essential piece to maintaining mental and physical health. Those of us who use humor and laughter regularly, experience less stress, are often less sick and less prone to developing symptoms of depression.
Balance. Children (and adults) who have learned to not take themselves too seriously, lead more balanced and meaningful lives because they know how to slow down and just enjoy life.
So how to we aid our children in developing a sense of humor? Simple, be an example.
Find ways to laugh more and find humor in everyday life. Laugh at yourself and FOR your children. As parents we have many opportunities to show our children when things don’t go as planned, that we can fret, pout, wish for different circumstances OR we can bounce back and make fun!
Here is a rule I live by and I challenge you to do the same: I don’t let the girls go to sleep without a belly laugh sometime throughout the day. It is top priority for me and my day doesn’t feel complete without hearing them laugh or finding the chance to laugh with them. Everyday I make sure they know joy, even if it is fleeting.
Here is a list of things I do regularly to make myself look like a fool:
(It should be noted that being silly has really taken some practice for me. You don’t have to be a comedian, kids are very forgiving and usually the best recipe for laughter is as simple as surprising them!)
- Dance like a maniac
- Do everything in sing-song, making up rhymes up as I go
- Acting extremely silly and sometimes just plain weird. For example, sometimes I’ll let them catch me spinning in circles with my harms stretched out. I might even add a silly song to the mix to attract their attention. This guarantees a laugh and they will usually join in.
- Sing in opera
- Waddle like a penguin
- Chase them while waddling like a penguin
- Tell them a knock-knock joke
- Make funny faces at them from across the room
- I’ll do the opposite of what they were expecting
- Farting noises, duh
- Burping is one of Little Lime’s favorites, she’s very sophisticated!
- Think 3 stooges.
- Hop like a frog
- Get all up in their faces
- Chase them (I like to do this by walking like a robot)
- Talk with a funny voice without letting up. This one is risky because half the time Raine just gets annoyed.
- Put on a weird hat or clothing item and wait for them to notice.
- And drumroll….when I’m really feeling desperate I’ll resort to…tickling!
What are some ways that you encourage laughter and humor in your home? Please share!
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