Using Humor to Build Child Resiliency

Using Humor to Build Child Resiliency

Being a kid can be a lot of work! They are learning new things each and every day and it’s up to us, as parents, to instill good values and traits in our children. Nurture And Thrive Blog recently talked about Using Humor to Build Child Resiliency and what a good trait to have!

Having a sense of humor is a big thing in life. It can diffuse the negative things that may come your way and it’s a trait that many people say they want in a good friend and life partner. Why wouldn’t we want to promote a good sense of humor in our children?!

Based on research that Nurture and Thrive Blog did, a good sense of humor indicates high emotional intelligence, cheerfulness, and is a key part of social competence. Those all sound like winning values to me!

Being able to weather the storms life throws at us, finding a way to look on the bright side when something gets us down and having the ability to laugh at ourselves all allows us to find a better perspective. They help us be resilient in tough times and can be the difference between successfully or unsuccessfully handling different situations in life.

Resiliency is also an important trait in children. We cannot always protect our children from experiencing stress and distress, but we can help them to develop skills to be able to handle those moments well, grow in the face of challenge, and continue on, perhaps not untouched but hopefully undamaged.

So how can we help our children develop a positive sense of humor so they can beat those dark times that are sure to cross their paths in life? It’s been proven to help diffuse stress, which is one of the most important things to learn how to handle at a young age.

Why Laughter Releases Stress

  • Who doesn’t love to laugh? Remember the last time you had a false alarm that you thought was going to be a big deal, but it turned out to be nothing? You may have laughed, which helped to relieve the immediate stress you felt at an unpleasant situation.
  • Did you know that laughing has the same physical effect on the body as exercise? OK, so maybe you won’t be building the body you want, only by laughing, but it does reduce stress hormones and boosts the immune system. It can even reduce the likelihood of heart attacks! There is even some evidence that laughter and humor may help children with cancer avoid infections. Who knew humor could have such a positive effect on the physical body?!
  • Being able to laugh and have a good sense of humor can help to predict the emotional well-being of people. An experiment was done where people were put into one of three groups: a social group, a humor group and a control group. Results showed that the humor group was the only one that showed significant increases in self confidence, positive emotions and optimism. They also showed large decreases in perceived stress, depression, anxiety and stress levels.

So why do we not work on instilling humor more often in our children? It’s definitely not one of the first things that come to mind when we think about how we want to parent our children. It doesn’t generally come up in the “should dos” of parenting, as Nurture and Thrive Blog says!

Laugh often and they will laugh with you. Be silly and they will be silly too. Tell jokes and they will tell jokes too. I think the best way to help your child build a healthy sense of humor is to try to make them laugh. They will return the favor, laughter will become a good habit and a sense of humor will bloom before your eyes!

So how do you work on helping your child build that much-needed sense of humor?

6 to 12-15 Months: Laughing at Mom and Dad!

  • It’s been proven that babies find anything unexpected and spontaneous funny, especially if mom or dad provokes it! Just think about how they laugh at our silly faces or funny inflections in our voice!
  • Games like peek-a-boo with their parents give babies the giggles. By the age of 1, though, babies start to rely on their own sense of humor and look away from their parents for stimulation.

15 Months to 3-5 Years Old: What ISN’T Funny?

  • Kids this age love to do goofy things like putting hats on their feet or shoes on their head. Who knew that could make kids laugh so hard!
  • Putting things in unexpected places will give your child the giggles, too. How did their favorite stuffed animal end up on the shelf in the bathroom?

2-4 Years: Wrong Names

  • Look at the shoe! It’s not a shoe, it’s a bus!
  • This is when your child will start to play with different words to see the types of reactions they get with what they say. Encourage their silliness!

3-5 Years Old: Word Play

  • Tongue twisters are absolutely hilarious at this age! Try the good old stand-by, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickles Peppers” and what your child die of laughter!
  • Making up stories and making up silly rhymes is also funny to this age group.

5-7 Years Old: Riddles and Jokes

  • Adult-like humor is going to start at this age!
  • Children begin to understand jokes that have double meanings and meaningful and funny jokes will actually make sense!
  • Kids will start using jokes to interact with their peers
  • Being able to understand the joke is as much fun now as telling the joke!
  • When you are parenting a child of this age, make sure you have tons of riddles and jokes stores up, because your child will be ready for them!

After spending some time working on these skills with your children, you’ll be happy when they are able to diffuse stress in their lives and move past situations that otherwise would have had them stuck in the mud. That’s all we want for our children, is for them to be able to successfully manage the hard times that will show up throughout their lives!

Click on the following link for more details and to view the original article and image credit: Building Resiliency in Children Through Humor

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