Do you and your child laugh together? If so, you have discovered a very important way to connect with each other. Laughter is a wonderful tool that brings people together and makes them feel good. In fact, children who have a sense of humor tend to enjoy life more, are healthier in both mind and body, and exhibit greater self-confidence than their more serious peers. But while laughing seems to come naturally for some youngsters, for others, it is actually a skill that has to be taught. If you want to encourage your child to laugh more, try some of these easy steps and enjoy the results together:
- Find out what appeals to your child's sense of humor at his or her current age. For instance, babies find silly faces and games of peek-a-boo amusing, while toddlers may find animal noises or wearing a sock on your hand funny.
Reward your child's attempts at humor. It can make kids feel good to know their efforts have made you laugh.
Remember that your children get their cues from you, so don't be afraid to be silly and laugh often yourself. If you don't take life too seriously, neither will they.
Engage in creative play, nonsense words and funny songs with your child. When you send the message that it's okay to be silly, your children will feel safe following your lead.
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or frustrated by circumstances, look for the humor in your situation. For instance, if a plate of spaghetti fell in your lap, you may be upset but also may look pretty funny. When you can face challenges with a smile, you teach your children how to do the same.
Encourage your child to tell jokes, read funny stores or make up original ones, and draw funny pictures. Reinforce these activities by being a receptive audience.
Set aside time to watch funny movies with your child. Talk about what made the movie funny, or what might have increased the level of humor even more.
Realize that you don't have to go to great lengths to amuse your child. A silly, nonsense rhyme you make up might just be enough to get your child to laugh and laugh. Remember to laugh along with him or her.