Laughter is contagious! Sprinkle it around.

Some of our happiest memories have laughter at the heart of them. Often a shared experience includes a moment of shared laughter. That time that you and your kids belly laughed together when you got caught by a wave at the beach and got soaking wet (clothes and all!!)

A good sense of humour is a key feature that we look for when we are looking for a friend or partner but what does this really mean. We are not just looking for someone to share a joke with, but rather someone with an optimistic outlook, the ability to laugh at oneself and to see the bright side of life. All traits associated with resilience. Humour is a strength we should be striving to nurture in our kids.

Humour and the ability to laugh has the power to make us strong, unite, defuse tensions and create memories.

  • Laughter is a form of emotional release – a tense situation can be defused through laughter. Turning a scary situation upside down with humour. Can you remember the last time you used humour to defuse? A drink spilt down Mr 4’s front results in an initial look of horror, followed by relief when the response by Mum isn’t annoyance but a giggle. Turning a negative into a positive (or not so bad!)

  • Laughter is a form of physical relief - it reduces stress and boosts the immune system. A belly laugh can act as a reboot, and create a bond. Our bodies can’t differentiate fake laughter from real, so when the going gets touch try a smile or a chuckle to release some endorphins.

  • Laughter and humour support emotional well-being – studies show that being told you are funny leads to decreases in perceived stress, depression, anxiety and stress levels. Now if only the kids thought my Mum jokes were funny.

Humour is an innate part of who we are. We start to smile within a few weeks of birth and our sense of humour develops as we grow and mature. For babies an unexpected event can result in giggles, a game of peek-a-boo, a toy disappearing and reappearing. Let’s not forget the hilarity of a toddler grabbing their Dad’s nose and throwing it in the bin. As we grow, and mature physical humour continues to cause laughter and we add linguistic humour, humour through a play on words, tongue twisters and jokes.

BUT…. Is there a wrong time to laugh?

Nurturing humour in our kids also means talking about and modelling the appropriate use of humour, no one wants to be the butt of a joke.

When think about humour these 3 pointers simplify a ‘good’ joke.

  • Object – who or what is the object of my humour? Will they be hurt by it?

  • People – who is the joke’s audience? Will they be offended?

  • Occasion – is this the time and place for a joke?

Laughter and humour are important tools in your life skills toolbox, equip your kids with the ability to laugh and make light of situations and you help them to shake off stress and bounce back.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried or maybe even snorted???