What do you want for your child?
Most parents would answer this question with “I want my child to be happy”
Yes – what we want most – is for our children to be happy. And we are usually willing to do whatever it takes to make them happy. We buy them what we think will make them happy and we say what we think will make them happy.
And we then expect the rest of the world to follow suit and keep doing whatever it takes to make our children happy.
The rest of the world however does not care.
Life throws up difficulties. Life throws up adversities. Life scares us and makes us want to run away. And life then challenges us to be happy in the midst of all this.
The only way we can ensure that our children are happy is – by teaching them how to laugh and smile – especially when things are really not that funny.
Every child is born with the intense desire to be happy, to make others around him happy and to laugh. Just pick up a baby’s hands and clap them together – it will certainly make him laugh. Smile and laugh at the clapping and he will laugh more. And make a funny face and he will go off into peals of laughter.
As the busyness of life takes over however – this inherent desire to be happy and to laugh at just about anything and everything – is sometimes lost. As families – we begin to stress on petty things and ignore the important. And this slowly erodes our children’s sense of humor.
Laughter is the magical ingredient that makes life beautiful.
A good sense of humour is one of the most valuable gifts we can give our children – because humour helps put things in proper proportion and view them in the right perspective.
A good sense of humour is vital for good mental health. Being able to look at the humorous side of life – is in fact an essential tool for survival.
10 ways to build your child’s sense of humour
Remember that a sense of humour develops gradually. Little children find little things funny and as parents we must recognize that.
Initially, just seeing things done in the reverse order or having things put upside down can make children laugh.
Toothpaste on the reverse side of the brush or a shoe on the head – is extremely funny to a small child
It is important to abandon attempts to be perfect all the time and attempt to make children perfect. Constantly aiming to be picture perfect leads to children being serious and unsmiling.
Any slight imperfection then - easily confuses them and makes them unhappy
2.Be funny yourself
Never be ashamed to be funny or do something slightly silly if it elicits a few laughs.
A sense of humour develops gradually and needs an environment in which everyone around is routinely attempting to be funny and trying to look at the humorous side of incidents and happenings
3.When children attempt humour – just laugh
When children attempt something funny – laugh enthusiastically to encourage them.
Wearing things the wrong way or using puns in sentences to change their meaning are the earliest ways in which children attempt to make others laugh. It is important as adults to laugh at their attempts and not look embarrassed or attempt to correct them
Enjoy childish attempts to be funny – even if it doesn’t appeal to your evolved sense of humour.
Always let children know that you enjoy hearing their laughter and approve of their fun
4.Build an atmosphere of laughter around mundane chores
Life is always going to be busy. Don’t try to schedule a time to laugh. Weave laughter into everyday chores and tasks.
Pretend you are chasing children in the house as you get them to do tasks. It generates giggles and laughter and is often a much easier way of getting tasks done around the house – than yelling at them and ordering them around.
Tease them gently, wrestle with them and rough house with them as a routine and watch them erupt with laughter
Always smile with a twinkle in your eye when you make eye contact with your child. From an expression like this – it is easier to transition to laughter.
5.Teach children how to laugh at themselves
When a child unintentionally does something that makes others laugh – encourage him to see the funny side of what he has done – and laugh at himself.
Make sure that your child understands that minor mistakes are not disgraceful and should be laughed off.
6.Show children that life is not such a serious affair
Encourage children to see the funny side of the little fights, slights and insults that they encounter in the playground or in their interactions with other children.
Show them that life is really not such a serious affair at all and it is not necessary to take offence or burst into tears all the time.
7.Teach children how to tease gently and cope with teasing
Teasing is usually one of the earliest ways in which small children attempt humour. There is nothing wrong with teasing if it is not hurtful.
Telling children not to tease usually does not work because it is an essential developmental stage in the evolution of a sense of humour.
Teach children what is not funny and what should never be joked about.
Build their emotional skills and show them how to perceive when they are beginning to hurt the other person and when they should stop teasing. Teach them how to be gentle while being funny.
Also teach them how to cope with teasing and enjoy being teased.
8.Make sure the shows children watch are really funny
Watch age appropriate humorous shows with children.
Keep them away from adult comedies – they teach children the wrong kind of humour.
It is best to avoid cartoons where beating up others and hurting them is considered funny.
Laughter is a gift and a sense of humour is an asset that we must certainly give our children. It is the only way to ensure that our children have a chance to be really happy.