It’s never too early to encourage your child’s sense of humor. Whether its school age kids, preschoolers, toddlers or even babies, you can be sure that there is a way to create a funny environment for them. First time your child makes you laugh is one of life’s great pleasures.
Science keeps proving that humor and laugh are a great medicine and it’s definitely not something you have or you don’t, but you can develop through practice. Think of laughter as the yin to stress’s yang. According to Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California, your mind, hormone system and immune system are constantly communicating with one another in ways that impact everything from your mood to your ability to fend off sickness and disease. He says laughter shuts down the release of stress hormones like cortisol. It also triggers the production of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, which have all kinds of calming, anti-anxiety benefits.Good laugh will bring your mind and body very fast in balance.
Another good news is that, when it comes to developing a sense of humor, there is no age restriction. You can encourage your child’s sense of humor at any age.
Only important thing here is to know some specifics about every category. Babies for example know when you are happy or sad. They will sense your emotions and tend to imitate it. Tickling and blowing raspberries on their tummies are always good choice for them. Toddlers on the others side love surprises and as they are developing language skills, non-sense words are interesting for them. A preschooler is more likely to find humor in a picture with something out of whack like caricatures. As they are growing they will discover the pleasure of telling simple jokes and repeating them as much as possible. Eventually they will understand sarcasm and irony.
One study showed that some children at age three (but typically around five) are able to understand some forms of irony. In the experiment, children watched a puppet show and were asked questions about what they saw. An example of irony was when one puppet broke a plate and the other commented: “Your mum will be very happy”. Some children could laugh and understand that this wasn’t literal and that the mum would in fact not be happy at all.
Whatever age they are, general recommendation to parents are to be a good role- humor model.
Instead of passive approach like giving them to watch TV or tablet videos, try to be more proactive. You can be the one that makes your kid laughing and not cartoon or a YouTube character. So make sure to spend some quality time with your kids, really engage and be spontaneous, imaginative and playful – just like when you were a kid.
Here are some ways:
- make up some new jokes together,
- make funny faces and noises,
- play pantomime,
- be gracious with small catastrophes,
- share your stories from younger days,
- or imitate animals .
Don’t worry, they will love it! You could learn a lot about yourself from their reactions as well. Just be sure that you pick the right one for their age so they could understand and interact. And soon they will give it a shot as well. When this happens, praise your kid for being witty and be open for surprises.
When making up their own jokes, children often draw inspiration from whatever they are learning about. Even more important, this helps them process social rules. Joking about it is a good way to learn about the social rituals and emotions that go along with this process.
This doesn’t benefit only your kids, but it’s great for you as parents as well. In this way you could distance yourself from everyday problems and use this time as stress – free zone. So, it is important that a child sees both Mom and Dad playing and laughing, because he learns by example and that will be one of the best for sure. Just keep in mind the lyrics of the well-known song: Always look on the bright side of life!