Always laugh when you can, it is
cheap medicine – Lord Byron
How does a
child develop a sense of humor? Is it inherent or is it learnt through
observation or is it a combination of both? We will deal with this aspect
later. But what is known and scientifically proven beyond doubt is that humor
and laughter play a crucial role in the development of resilience and
well being, and can help children navigate through and cope with the different
stages of life.
Nature vs. Nurture
widely believed that no one is born with an inherent sense of humor, a lack of
sense of humor or even a poor sense of humor. A sense of humor is learned, just
like all other skills we possess. But how is this particular skill learnt?
Well, it is mostly by observation. And parents are the greatest influencers.
child’s humor development is encouraged, meaning praised and appreciated by
words, it will flourish. But this does not mean that parents have to feel unduly
pressurized. Children, though not born with a sense of humor, can appreciate
funny instances (mostly physical in nature). So even if you consider yourself
to be a somber parent, there is no need to stress.
way to help your budding comedian is to laugh along with him in things that he
feels are funny, without letting him go overboard. It is also up to the parents
to steer their children in the right direction if humor starts getting cruel or
The benefits of laughing
says a keen sense of humor is linked to:
- Higher intelligence.
- More extensive creative
- Flexible thought processes.
- Greater sociability.
- High self-esteem.
- Better self-control skills.
McGhee says it is also widely believed that having a good sense of humor
can make kids more resilient.
age-appropriate humor guide during the comedic formative years of six months to
- The first year: The first belly
laugh comes from something primary carers do, such as pulling silly faces.
- Ages 1-4: Littlies can find
using objects "wrongly" – such as wearing a bowl as a hat –
- Ages 2-5: With a growing grip
on language, naming objects or people silly names – like saying your nose
is your belly – often gets a giggle.
- Ages 3-5: Word play and making
up nonsense combinations is very funny.
- Ages 6-7: This age loves a
"knock, knock" joke – and they will laugh their heads off at
their own jokes.
use humor to dispel stressful situations quite naturally. Maybe you could take
a leaf out of their book and adopt the same strategy next time you feel
stressed. Happy Laughing!