When was the last time you and your family did something fun? How many times a day do ya’ll laugh? How about a throw your head back, deep belly laugh? Laughter is super duper important!
Why Is Laughter Important
Just to name a few reasons why laughter should be a priority: Laughter can do great things for the family. It can heal, build resilience, help family members forgive, stop children from having meltdowns and fits, and there are a number of health benefits.
I was researching an issue Jock was having a couple of years ago, and one of the suggestions was to make sure that children are laughing many times daily. I remember the article saying something to the effect of crying and laughing release anxiety. Laughing can have the same effect emotionally and psychologically for a person as crying. A no-brainer- I wanted to choose laughter!
Our children carry around emotional backpacks that they will eventually unload. If we are making sure that our children are laughing regularly, then there will almost definitely be less crying and whining. That really got my attention because crying and whining give me anxiety!
Oh, but there were a couple of “aw shucks”. For one, tickling doesn’t count. It has to be laughter by choice. The other was sometimes the kid has so much emotional baggage that the laughter feels good, and then a big meltdown comes afterward. These are called scheduled meltdowns. Better at home than the grocery store! The good news is the child is usually emotionally good to go for a longer time period after this. I put this into practice, and I got the results that were explained.
Kids Feed Off of the Parents Moods
Jock is just a naturally happy kid. He wears a smile throughout a lot of the day, but when I started to assess how often he was giggling or laughing I was disappointed with myself. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do. Why wasn’t I making sure my kid was laughing often? The more I paid attention to it, the more I realized that I could really gauge his moods and our connectedness throughout the day by how easily he laughed. A lot of which I realized, by the way, was feeding off of my moods and giggles or lack thereof. Uh, do the parenting responsibilities ever end?
How to Make Sure There Is Laughter
I put a plan into action. Now, I kind of keep a mental note of how much laughter we’ve had throughout the day. I try to make sure and have a good pre-lunch laugh and an evening laugh. Of course, we have others, but I am very intentional about these two. I have seen a world of difference.
The boys and I are more connected, and they stay focused longer. My kids rarely have fits, and when they do, it is usually due to tiredness. In fact, when things get hectic around here, and we go, go, go, and there’s whining and crying and lots of needinesses, I almost always realize there has been not much fun, or no laughter in our day so far.
The Laughter Guage
There have been times I have been complaining to my mommy friends that the kids are so whiny and uncooperative only to think a few days later that we haven’t laughed in a couple of days. How sad is that? I have this in my bag of tricks, and sometimes it takes me a couple of days to even get on track and remember to use it. Once I do, boom, I get my kids back!
One final thing I noted, when I say, “This is so fun”, and laugh or just start making myself laugh, the boys follow my lead. It’s infectious. It shifts their mindset. Also, I try to be intentional throughout the day to smile real big when they look at me. It’s amazing the smile they mirror back. I didn’t think of this stuff on my own, but I’m glad I found it and want to pass it on.
Here are some of my favorite ways to get the boys laughing:
- Roughhousing https://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/How_to_Behave_So_Your_Child_Will_Too
- Tell the kids no laughing or giggling, then say funny stuff, make silly noises and crazy faces, remind them they are not supposed to laugh
- Act goofy, make mistakes on purpose, act like you’re having trouble walking or talking or remembering things
- Read funny books
- Hide and seek
- Chase inside or out
- Chase the kids with a stuffed animal or puppet
- Play on the bed, make a parachute with the sheet, the kids jump into it
- Act like the kids are so strong they can push you over
- Say, “I sure am hungry. What do I want? How about a finger? Leg? Belly button? Neck?” and act like I’m eating them on my kids.
- Act like you fall down
- This little piggy
- Ride a little horsey, down to town, you better watch out so you don’t fall down (they ride on your legs & you act like you’re going to tump them off)
- Change the words to songs to include the kid or be funny
- Only talk in rhyme
- Make up a story that includes your child and friends. Make them the hero and include humor. My kids will listen to as many stories as we are willing to make up!
- Start singing your favorite song. Jam out dancing and singing dramatically
- I let them tickle me, and I just act like I am dying laughing and can hardly stand it
- Say, “Where’s your Mommy?” They’ll say, “You’re our Mommy!” Then I say no I’m a _____, and I act like that animal until they say, “No, be Mommy, be Mommy.”
- Chris wears glasses and he takes them off and acts like he can’t see the boys. He walks around waves his arms around trying to find them all the while tripping over furniture and bumping into walls. They love love love this!
- At Halloween, I put a sheet over myself and played a ghost trying to get the boys. Luke asked for this daily for over 2 months.
- Hide & Seek
Call to Action
You will have to test out your humor on your child and see what works and what doesn’t. Humor comes pretty naturally for me. My brother and I spent a lot of time trying to make each other laugh, and these are some of my favorite childhood memories.
If it doesn’t come naturally to you or one of your children, I encourage you to keep at it. Luke is a little harder to get laughing than Jock, but he’s getting the hang of it. Once you are intentional, kids catch on and they even request some of your funny behaviors. I love when Jock says, “You’re so funny, Mom.” Both boys are now quite the comedians themselves for which I am grateful.
Laughter- it’s a free form of entertainment for your family! Don’t forget to use it!
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS