As parents we have lots on our minds, and there have been days surely when we have not even stopped to appreciate a good joke. However, we need to slow down, laugh and more importantly, teach this valuable life skill to our kids.
Did you know?
Your baby benefits from your laughter right from the time he or she is growing in your womb. So if you are currently expecting a baby, make sure you laugh hard and laugh loud. In addition to benefitting your baby, it will also initiate a feeling of well-being in you.
Right from a young age, babies are naturally happy people, and there’s always a smile hiding there somewhere. Young babies respond to tickling and cuddling with adorable toothless smiles!
As they grow, and as their intellects develop, you will delight in their giggles at games such as ‘peek-a-boo’, ‘this little piggy’ and ‘round and round the circus’. Silly as these games are, play them often with your babies because you are leading them to the next stage. That’s when you do a bit of stand-up and slapstick… walk a bit funny, or talk like a duck, bend over and look at them upside-down – and they will find it oh! So funny!
You get the drift… preschoolers and young kids who have just discovered the power of words will often respond to clever little jokes or puns very well!
Lighten life with some laughs
As parents, we actually have the power to diffuse difficult situations with the right touch of humor, but many of us seldom use it! In the morning rush to work, if our young schooling kid, for instance drops his milk, most of us would probably resort to a reprimand or a scolding. What does that do? It spoils the child’s day and yours, and gets you all off to a bad start. Instead, count to ten slowly to calm yourself down… spills happen! So make a joke about it… even if it’s an impossibly difficult thing to do in the middle of the mad rush! And see how the sun suddenly seems to shine brighter, as your child recognizes your efforts and breezes through the morning with a smile to show his appreciation.
A sense of humor is a great way to stay positive, so develop a light, fun atmosphere at home. This will help your child develop a patient, positive attitude too. Especially when you are going through a difficult situation, take time out to explain the problem to your child, but also ‘laugh ‘about your problems. Here’s an example. Suppose you are going through some stress with all the red-tape involved in something as simple as getting the name changed on your property tax papers. Crib about it at home, fine, but also introduce your child to the humor in the situation – “I made so many trips to that office, that Mr. so-and so who saw my car parked outside several mornings actually asked me if I worked there!” or “I am actually thinking of going back there even after my work is done, because the chai there is really great!” Remember, when you can’t change something, accept it and joke about it until things change for the better. Then look back and laugh about it all over again!
The many benefits of humour
Intellectual benefits – When growing kids laugh at a pun or try to play with words they are actually developing their intellects. Reading a funny story, solving a silly riddle, and understanding a funny joke are great ways to develop kids’ intellects.
Social benefits – Learning how to tell a joke well, learning to appreciate humor in others, and connecting with a crowd, the ability to lighten a tense moment with an appropriate joke, are all social skills that will surely develop your child’s social skills, and help them in their interpersonal relationships as adults.
Emotional benefits – Emotional intelligence has received its fair share of publicity and hype, but the truth is, a child with a good sense of humor truly knows the art of managing his own emotions. It’s a skill to stay positive and motivated in difficult times, and a child who has grown up in a family that appreciates good humor, surely knows how to stay upbeat and positive. An emotionally intelligent person knows how to laugh at himself too.
Other benefits – Everyday humor is good for the whole family, so make sure you indulge in some giggles. Learn to let go and laugh whole-heartedly when you are with your kids – it is a great way to release tension and stress, and it’s a lifetime supply of the much-needed giggles your kids will need in their adult years!
By keeping the humor throughout your child’s growing years, you will be gifting them invaluable traits such as great self esteem, and the ability to cope well in adult life. On a lighter note, stand-up comedians are much in demand, and who knows, you could be nurturing a natural right in your home!
Sharon Colaco D’Souza is a mother of two kids, a girl and a boy. She is a business management post graduate, and works as a content strategist for a living. She is passionate about home decor and design, and blogs at The Keybunch. Parenting is ‘that continuously-unravelling mystery’ for her and she views Parentous as a great place for parenting information, as well as a place to share her own parenting discoveries. She is currently working on a book idea on indigenous architecture and hopes to see it to fruition!