Children follow our example in so many areas of life, but did you know they learn to pick up their sense of humour from their parents? Though laughter has long been considered a basic instinct – a physical response to tickling, for example – recent research indicates that babies as young as six months learn whether something is funny from observing their parents when they laugh. And, laughing is good for you! It not only boosts the happiness chemicals (endorphins) in our brains, but also stimulates the area associated with feelings of ‘reward’. Children with a well-developed sense of humour tend to be more positive-thinking individuals with higher self-esteem.
They are often socially well-adjusted, too. Humour helps children handle stress better – which keeps you healthy, too. It helps to put your children at ease with the world around them. Humour is effective at teaching kids how to cope, which can be useful later in life. It’s a useful tool for parents wishing to distract their kids or avoid conflict and meltdowns.
Teaching your child not to take themselves too seriously, but rather to have fun, laugh and be spontaneous, therefore, is as valuable a lesson as the ABCs! Here are some useful parenting tips from Surf Excel about how to encourage your children to laugh and develop a sense of humour.
A Developing Sense of Humour
Babies find all physical experiences and expressions funny – things like pulling faces, tickling, and surprising noises and events. But toddlers from about the age of two begin to distinguish between reality and fantasy – they now see humour in the combination of the normal and the ridiculous. Though their sense of humour is still mainly based on slapstick events, toddlers are now able to understand amusing stories and pretend play. Naughtiness is often highly amusing at this stage! By the age of five, kids are much more verbal, and they are able to use language as a basis for humour. Kids’ jokes, limericks, tongue-twisters, riddles, puns, silly poems, made-up words, and funny stories now prove a source of hilarity. From this point on, your child’s sense of humour becomes more sophisticated.
How Kids’ Jokes Can Help Your Child Learn and Grow
Even as adults, our sense of humour is continually evolving in response to our social and cultural environment. In India, we have a diverse range of languages and cultures – we might not always find the same things funny, but a strong sense of humour helps break the ice and teaches children to look at things from a different perspective. Many funny jokes, comics, and pictures are funny for everyone, in any language. In fact, they’re some of the easiest ways to get your kids reading and writing. What can be more fun than learning about the crazy world of Dr Seuss, and then maybe trying to write a story of your own?
It’s great to listen to your children work their way through a book of ‘Knock, Knock’ jokes for kids, and then watch them attempt to write their own jokes! Humour and imagination go hand in hand, so crazy bedtime stories and acting like a clown around the house will not just be an opportunity for you to let your hair down, but is also good practice to inspire your children and help them learn and grow.