Sheryl Bautch from the Family Service of Champaign County stops by for the Your Family segment, this week with the topic of laughing with your children.
Researchers have found that toddlers laugh about 400 times per day, while most adults only laugh 15 times per day. By encouraging our children’s laughter and learning to laugh with them, we will benefit both our children and ourselves.
Laughter actually makes us feel better, both physically and mentally. Laughter has been shown to improve learning and to alleviate pain. It is an experience we can share with our children and it is an important technique for coping with the stresses of daily life.
It may be difficult for an adult to understand why something is funny to a child. Very young children respond most to physical gestures and activities, such as a funny face or peek-a-boo. When children begin to develop language skills, they delight in silly phrases and nonsense rhymes.
Older children may find jokes and riddles hilarious, even when they blow the punch line. Whether or not we see the humor in whatever they are laughing at, it is important that we laugh with them and support and encourage their developing sense of humor.
Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves in front of our children. It won’t cause them to loose respect for us. Rather, it will be a great example for them and teach them an important coping skill.
We know there is an important difference between laughing with someone and laughing at them, and we need to teach that to our children. Laughter should never be used to hurt someone’s feelings. We teach our children this lesson by using humor appropriately ourselves, and avoiding sarcasm, unkind remarks or laughing at another person’s expense.