When I started writing kids’ joke books, I had no idea the impact these fun little books would have. But a few years and a couple million books later, I’ve received some great emails and letters from parents. It’s remarkable how a simple thing like humor has kids reading and families laughing together. I’ve experienced this myself, since our family had a great time connecting as we would laugh writing jokes around the dinner table each night. It got me thinking about the impact of shared laughter with our kids. Here are a few of those thoughts and some simple ideas to cultivate laughter in your family life.
1) Laughter helps counteract negative emotions
Our lives are stressful as we juggle busy schedules. Our kids experience that same kind of tension. Social media and scary current events bombard our kids with anxiety and stress. Academic and social pressures wear them out. If our families aren’t laughing, it’s a symptom of letting life suck the happy out of us. Sharing fun and laughter every day brings joy and closeness in the midst of our world’s negativity.
2) Laughter is healthy
We’ve all heard the stats about the harmful impact of stress on our health. Laughter is great for our kids’ growing bodies. It decreases stress hormones and improves immune systems. It triggers the release of endorphins, the “feel-good chemical” that relieves pain and anxiety. Laughter will help your kids sleep better, feel better, and stay well.
3) Laughter teaches what’s really funny
Our kids learn a lot about our values and worldview from our humor. One of my laugh-out-loud codes is “never laugh at the expense of someone else.” Joking can be positive and fun without insulting or bullying people. Our humor should never put down others’ culture, race, or limitations. Instead, let’s laugh at what’s joyful or goofy in the world around us. Let’s even be able to laugh at ourselves!
4) Laughter creates readers
Confession: I’m one of those authors who reads their reviews! Many parents have commented that the Laugh-Out-Loud series got their kids into reading. Their kids were having fun sharing jokes with family and friends, unaware they were becoming stronger readers in the process. This year’s London Book Fair offered a seminar on the topic: “Why funny books get kids reading”—when reading is fun, learning happens naturally. Joke books in particular give kids a chance to develop confidence as they read aloud to get a laugh. If your child won’t crack a book, put something funny in their hands!
5) Laughter creates memories
The time we spend enjoying our kids, laughing with them, and giving them undivided attention goes further to create memories than anything money can buy. Read silly library books while you tuck them in at night. Share laughter and conversation around the dinner table on a regular basis. Have cake for breakfast and play games in your PJs on Saturday morning. Expensive birthday presents and vacations are exciting, but will never surpass the daily fun and quality time you share. So as you go through the 1,001 things you have to do today, don’t forget the simple yet profound gift of laughter for your family. Grab every little moment you can to smile and lighten up. The fun, happy moments you share will go far in building a stronger child and family
(Originally posted here)