Humor and Kids
According to KidsHealth, children laugh about 200 times each day; adults laugh only 15 to 18 times. Laughter can help you and your children communicate better and build emotional bonds. "Laughing Is Good for You and Your Child" from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), states that having a sense of humor is good for a child’s mental and physical well-being.
- Relieves stress.
- Loosens muscles.
- Lowers blood pressure and may lower hormones that create stress and weaken immunity.
- Helps move blood to your heart and lungs, boosting energy and making you feel better instantly.
- Triggers a point in the brain that helps a person feel pleasure and want to have that same feeling again.
Studies show that laughing is key to positive parenting, helping families have fun and come closer together.
KidsHealth gives you parenting tips to encourage your child’s sense of humor.
- Model humor. Make jokes, tell stories, laugh out loud.
- Encourage your child to be funny. Laugh at his or her attempts at humor—jokes, silly pictures, funny noises.
- Fill your home with fun. Read funny stories, joke books, silly picture books, nonsense rhymes, and comics.
Family Activity: Make Them Laugh
Quiz for Parents: Positive Effects of Laughter Quiz
Related Article for Educators: Kids' Humor
- Laughing Is Good for You and Your Child, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Family Guide, provides a clear rationale for using humor to help your child stay healthy.
- Articles on Children’s Humor, by Dr. Paul E. McGhee, show how children’s intellectual, social, and emotional growth and well-being can be fostered through humor.
- Encouraging Your Child’s Sense of Humor from KidsHealth says that helping children maintain their playful outlook and encouraging a sense of humor can help children stay healthy, emotionally and physically.
- American Red Cross: In the Aftermath—Mind-Body Connection (PDF) “Have You Heard the One About the …?” (activity 3 within the PDF) shows how you can use humor to help children stay healthy after a disaster.
Reprinted with the permission of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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