By Kelli Drummer-Avendano
Laughter has been proven to be good for your health—both mental and physical! For some people, having a good laugh comes effortlessly, while others struggle to find their inner comedian. The good news is you can work on developing a child’s sense of humor just as you would any other skill or ability. So let the games begin!
- Who will laugh last?
Combining humor and competition is a win-win for most kids. Have a contest to see who can hold in their laughter the longest while telling jokes, making funny faces, or using physical comedy. Kids will feel particularly proud of themselves if they can make you laugh before they begin giggling.
- Read your way to laughter.
Reading a funny book with kids helps them develop their sense of humor and their literacy skills at the same time. The Cuentos traviesos series from dos tomatillos is ideal for tickling the funny bone of younger kids because they’re sure to enjoy the mischievous twist in each one. For example, in one book a little boy decides to call his pet dog “Flea” and the fleas that live on the dog, well, he’s named them “Dogs.” Take inspiration from one of the books to create your very own silly story!
- When you make a mistake, laugh it off.
Children model behavior they see in adults, and one of the healthiest behaviors is not taking yourself too seriously. If you make a mistake, such as being a bit clumsy or burning dinner, try to make a joke out of the matter instead of getting mad or frustrated. It’s more enjoyable to laugh at yourself than to get upset and it helps kids realize that everyone makes mistakes, even adults.
- Play with words.
While younger kids might not be ready for wordplay, older children can appreciate the subtle humor of a well-timed pun. You can start by looking up kid-friendly puns and sharing them with your child. Then, come up with some of your own together. You could even make your own book of puns complete with funny illustrations.
- Perform a funny read aloud.
Reading books aloud with your kids is great fun, especially when there’s funny dialogue involved. Another humor series from dos tomatillos that’s perfect for this activity is Natacha. There’s plenty of entertaining exchanges between the young protagonist, Natacha, and her friends and family, not to mention her playful dog, Raffles. You could make up silly voices for each character or take turns reading them with your child.
- Remember when…?
Take a stroll down memory lane by looking through a photo album. As you do, let the pictures help you remember funny events or people from the past. This activity is particularly beneficial if you or someone you love is currently going through a rough time. It reminds us that things weren’t always so bad and that they’ll get better again. If possible, write down some of these funny memories and put them in a folder or box so you have them whenever you need a good laugh.
- Sense of Humor: Tell knock-knock jokes.
These are usually the simplest jokes for kids to understand and to make up on their own. If you need some inspiration, try a book of knock-knock jokes, or look some up online. If a kid tries to make a joke that doesn’t really make sense, it’s important to laugh anyway. Young kids often pick up on the structure of a joke before fully understanding how to get the punchline right.
- Help them understand boundaries.
An appropriate sense of humor goes hand-in-hand with a good sense of humor. Part of encouraging kids to find their funny bone is helping them understand that not everything is funny nor is it humorous to make a joke that hurts others. It’s a fine line between laughing with someone and laughing at their expense. If you notice a child has made an inappropriate joke, be sure not to laugh, and then calmly explain why it’s not acceptable.
References: Laughter is the Best Medicine
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