April/May 2020 Taylored to You What’s So Funny?
6601 N. Davis Hwy, Suite 8, Pensacola, FL 32504 • (850) 478-8005 • www.AndrewTaylorDental.com
Why You Should Keep Your Kids Laughing
Humor has always been a valuable social skill. Class clowns and stand-up comedians are praised for their quick wit and their ability to make people laugh. Everyone loves to laugh, and laughing together is a great way to make strong, long-lasting connections. And now, recent studies have shown that a good sense of humor can even aid in a child’s development. Having a healthy sense of humor can help children develop their intellect, health, and problem-solving skills. Some people think that humor is a genetic trait, but it actually develops from recognizing and mimicking humor from other sources. This means that humor can be developed from a very young age with the right influence. There are a lot of benefits to encouraging your kids to get silly. A strong sense of humor will let them see things frommultiple perspectives rather than just the most obvious ones. It can also encourage them to be spontaneous and see the value in unconventional ideas and alternative ways of thinking. They’ll enjoy participating in the more playful aspects of life, which will teach them not to take themselves too seriously. These are all useful traits that many adults wish they could foster more easily! Children with a well-developed sense of humor also tend to have more positive emotions and social interactions. They’re generally happier and more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and are better equipped to handle differences between themselves and other children. Kids who can share humor with their peers are often better liked and also more equipped to handle childhood adversities, like playground bullies.
There are a lot of ways to encourage humor and playfulness in your children as they grow, and you should start at a young age. Babies may not fully understand humor, but they do recognize when people around them are happy. That’s why they laugh when you make funny noises or silly faces at them. They sense your joy and react. They’re highly responsive to physical stimuli too, like tickling. Toddlers appreciate physical humor nearly as much as babies do, especially if it includes elements of surprise, like peek-a-boo. As they start to develop basic language skills, they’ll find humor in nonsensical or rhyming words. This is also the age when kids usually start attempting to make their parents laugh. They may deliberately point to the wrong facial features when you practice with them or run around the house in your oversized clothes. As kids begin to attend school, they’ll find even more humor in the incongruities of the world around them. A picture of a cow wearing sunglasses, silly jokes and puns, or objects that don’t make expected noises, like a car horn quacking instead of honking, will be especially entertaining to them. It’s never too early to start developing a child’s sense of humor. Be a humor model to your kids by being silly with them and teach them that adults can be funny too. Take their humor seriously, even if it doesn’t always make sense. But it’s also important to know where to draw the line. Don’t laugh at inappropriate jokes — explain why they’re not funny instead. As long as you’re creating a healthy, humor-rich environment and encouraging your kids to be as funny as they can, you’re giving them an important tool they need to thrive.
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