Humor is a vital part of our day-to-day life. It serves not only to brighten our day, but as an important coping mechanism in hard times and a vital part of our social interactions. It also allows us to better communicate, exchange ideas and even share alternate points of view in easier-to-digest ways. It helps us to connect and can make children smarter, better able to cope with difficulties, and even improve their overall health and well-being both mental and physical. Here is an overview of why you should nurture your child’s sense of humor and suggestions on how to accomplish this task.
Benefits of a Child’s Sense of Humor
Children who have a well-developed sense of humor tend overall to be more optimistic, idealistic and are happier. They have a better self-image, higher self-esteem and are better able to process and handle differences of opinion, other points of view and cultural diversity. Even in difficult situations like moving to a new community or facing teasing and bullying in school, a sense of humor functions as a vital coping mechanism.
.There are practical health benefits to understanding what it means to be funny as well. People who laugh frequently are less likely to suffer depression or other emotional problems, and they tend to have an increased immune system and resistance to disease. Humor also acts as a vital factor in reducing stress. Those who laugh have stronger pulses, lower heart rates and great blood pressure, as well as improved digestion.
Humor through the Ages
When we say “through the ages,” we don’t mean history. We mean from childhood to adulthood. In babies, a sense of humor is generally relegated to, “Are the people around me happy?” and gradually evolves into, “Have I done something to make them happy?” Toddlers, on the other hand, begin to understand the fun in physical humor like tickling, peek-a-boo or pratfalls. Rhymes and nonsensical words come into their worldview at this time as well, and can be a great source of keeping your child amused and happy.
As kids get into their school years, they develop sensory and cognitive humor in the sense of strange pictures and bizarre occurrences like a dog that meows. Toilet humor also starts to be funny at this time, related to body noises. This develops into a love for wit, sarcasm and wordplay and eventually into a more refined sense of humor.
It is vital to encourage children to laugh and recognize what is funny. Identify your child’s sense of humor and nuture it. Be a role model by displaying your own sense of humor. Appreciate your child’s laughter. Show them that everyone from adults down to babies can be funny, and keep an environment around that encourages joking, laughter and fun.
Of course, a great way to encourage a love of life is to start with a fun interactive eBook. Try one of ours like Cock-a-Doodle-Moo, and explore our other great early literacy resources today!