Laughter in the Home

Laughter is a key ingredient for family life. It maintains perspective and lightens the load. It creates memories and builds relationships. Is laughter happening in your home?

Laughter is medicine for the soul
~ laugh often with your children.

Daddy dresses up as Captain James CookDaniel has an accident with the yoghurt

When was the last time you had a good laugh with your kids?
When was the last time I had a good laugh with my kids?

Encourage humour in your home:

  • Enjoy life yourself – do you have down time where you can relax and enjoy?
  • Share funny stories – either stories from your day, previous times of your life, or stories you have read
  • Encourage the children to read aloud something they have found funny in their book – enjoy a moment together
  • Have a joke book lying around – I know this can be painful but it is good medicine!
  • Watch funny movies – not only is this a relaxing time together as a family you are building memories and your family will incorporate what they have seen/heard into your family life and the laughter will be relived.

Be people focused not task focused

When we are task orientated the job just has to be done – NOW! The task is the most important thing and everything else needs to wait. Alternatively, when we are people focused, we can still get the job done, but we are aware of relationship issues. We are aware of how the other person is feeling, of how they are coping, of what they have on their hearts. When we allow for human interaction, even when we are working, we will start to hear humour in our home. There will be laughter as someone thinks of something funny they read, or a joke they must share or something silly that just happened to them (like finding the dishcloth in the fridge!)

Let their humour grow

It has been a joy to us to see humour develop in our family. When the kids were babies and we blew raspberries on their big round tummies, their laughter was pure delight. When they were toddlers I never ceased to be amazed at the calming quality of the giggles at bath time. Somewhere between 4 and 6 they started telling jokes – they weren’t funny jokes but we laughed anyway because they were so funny thinking they were telling funny jokes! As their vocab increased and their ability to use words, not only did their jokes start to be funny they started to appreciate play on words for themselves. They began to understand what makes a good joke.

Laugh at yourself

My children have never been comfortable with the TV show, “Funniest Home Videos” as they see people getting hurt and people laughing at this. I have appreciated their sensitivity in this area. But in the home – I do silly things – just yesterday I was crossing a very narrow board across the water channel, it wobbled, I nearly lost my balance and I shrieked as I scrambled to solid ground. My kids thought this was a scream – there was only about 3” of water in the channel but I carried on as if a crocodile was about to snap (or so they told me). This was family laughter. I laughed at myself and they laughed with me.

This is such a big thing – to learn the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with them. I was laughing at what I did – they laughed with me.

Humour can cross the line

That old and tried line, “I was only joking” just isn’t an acceptable response when humour crosses that line.

When does humour cross that line?

  • When the laughter is directed at someone, not with them
  • When a practical joke leads to injury – either physical or emotional
  • When silliness distracts people from doing the right thing
  • When there is an immoral component

As our children grow and enjoy humour more and more we must teach them to be appropriate and to be sensitive to other people at all times.

Being on the receiving end of a joke can be hard for a child to learn as well. Many times they will feel that people are laughing at them. While people need to learn sensitivity in these situations the child can learn the joy of making people laugh. It is a contribution that we can all make to the people in our lives.

Character traits that can help with balancing humour:

  • Love
  • Sensitivity
  • Thoroughness

Read this short article that discusses the effects of laughter, based on research

Live life with your kids!

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