HUMOR CAN MAKE KINDERGARTEN AND PRESCHOOL KIDS SMARTER, HEALTHIER AND MORE RESILIENT
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Kids with a well-developed sense of humor are found to be happier, more optimistic, have higher self-esteem and can handle diversity in their environments and with people around them. Not to mention that a joyful child can brighten family life and peer relationships.
Whether you are blowing raspberries on a baby’s belly or wearing a silly hat to chase your toddler around the house, or sharing a joke with your teenager, a good laugh is great medicine.
Laughter is a learned behaviour not something we inherit like green eyes or brown hair. Humor is not part of our genetic makeup and can be developed in a household. One of the best ways to connect with others is through humor, it’s disarming and helps to lift your spirits. Humor is one of the tools that children can use to cope with adversities of everyday life like making new friends, or dealing with their siblings. A good sense of humor can help children in most social and emotional circumstances.
Even in adults, research has shown that laughter helps with depression and may increase your tolerance of pain. More laughter can lower your blood pressure, help with stress and digestion and improve your overall immune function.
Toddlers will react well to physical outbursts of play like peek-a-boo and facial expressions of silliness. As they grow and start to recognize words they will laugh at funny words and rhymes. Around this age they may try to make you laugh by clomping around the house in dad's shoes or dancing to a funny song. Toddlers may use humor at this age to test their limits and build confidence. They may be ready to explore beyond their play space by glancing over their shoulders and laughing as they escape. As you take off to scoop them up, a bit of laughter and comments such as,”bunny running away” may get a happy reaction and they may repeat the word “bunny”. Using humor to defuse a situation will become a game, helping to build their confidence.
Preschoolers, on the other hand, may start to irritate parents with their bathroom humor. Odd illustrations like a cat wearing a hat, or a pig wearing glasses will delight them over and over again. Chasing them around will become a favorite as will silly antics with their food. Three year old’s will laugh out loud when you say absurd things like “Why are you wearing that bird on your head?” Inventing silly stories with animals or creatures of any kind will entertain preschoolers imaginations and help them to join in, using their sounds and changing up words. Making up imaginary stories like “Sally ran so fast she started to fly. She flew so high she could play with the birds in the clouds” Run around and imitate the girl flying and making squawking noises and they will love and invent their own sounds.
So feel free to tell jokes, be silly, dance and sing, dress up and make funny noises. As the famous pianist and comedian Victor Borge once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." There is something very bonding about children sharing a laugh together. Laughter breaks down boundaries and separations and builds connections. Here’s to happy families!
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