Humor has always been an important part of my life. From the awkward teen years to the book binging college years to fifty first dates and beyond; laughter has proved a constant source of support.
When Things Get Too Serious
The thing that I’ve found as a parent though, is that bringing the responsibility of raising children into the picture can really give a mama “laugher’s block.”
So, just like my identity, free time and pre-baby body, I am trying to get it back.
Just over here trying to find my belly laughs in the midst of house emergencies and little girl drama. And then I remember, that laughter can be part of the solution.
Now, let’s “get our funny on.”
Laughter is Healthy
We’ve all heard that laughter is good for us, but how so? Well, let me count the ways . .
1. It relaxes your body and eases all that muscle tension from holding your breastfeeding baby in awkward positions.
2. Laughter can help boost your immune system by increasing your T-cell count–a huge advantage during this relentless cold & flu season.
3. It triggers an endorphin release that can even aid in easing labor pains. To my doula’s surprise, I was cracking the occasional joke when I had been stuck at 8 centimeters for several hours without pain meds. I’m not sure I would have made it through two natural births without my sense of humor.
4. It lowers blood pressure & promotes heart health. I know I could have really used a good laugh when I discovered that my toddler had sharpied the faux finish on our dining room wall.
5. Laughing works your abs & even burns some calories. Okay, maybe not a lot, but do it for 15 minutes daily, and in one year, you’ve lost up to four pounds of baby weight.
6. It helps us to gain a general sense of well being, even leading to a longer life expectancy. More years with the kids and grandkids, yay!
7. It can stimulate our sense of creativity, a great asset to have as a parent.
8. Laughter can aid in combating memory loss as we age.
9. It assists in reducing inflammation in the body, the number one factor in disease according to most naturopaths.
10. It reduces anxiety and can help ease post partum depression.
11. Laughter improves our focus and helps us to gain much-needed productivity both at work and at home.
Laughter Can Make Us Better Parents
In addition to the long list of health benefits, learning to inject humor into your parenting can make for a more positive experience for all.
Divert Displays of Anger
Parents are human, and sometimes we lose our cool. Especially when the day is not going well in general. By pausing to reach for some humor, we can ease the tension and then deal with the situation.
Make it a Bonding Experience
By showing our softer, playful side sometimes and not always the angry, harsher side; our children will trust and respect us more. It will allow for a closer relationship.
Know When Humor isn’t Appropriate
Obviously there are situations where humor is not the answer. Like when something really serious has happened and it’s best not to make light of it. Or perhaps you have a special needs child that takes everything literally. In cases like these, it’s best to skip the humor and go another route.
How to Bring Humor Into the Situation
There is no one way to “bring the funny.” Here are some of the many ways you can bring humor to the situation at hand.
Kids love to be silly, it’s in their nature. But to see their parents get silly, that is something new and fun to see. It makes them feel like you are connecting with them at their level. Even if you feel uncomfortable doing so, learn to let go and get silly once in a while. It will get easier.
Make up a Jingle
It’s a lot of fun to take a situation and turn it into a silly song that you can teach your kids. Then you can all sing it together and the laughter will flow. You can even add in a disciplinary solution.
Laugh at Yourself
I think the best way to teach humor to your kids is to show them how to laugh at themselves. Taking yourself too seriously can make life really heavy. By learning to laugh at your imperfections, you can tackle life’s challenges so much more effectively.
Use it as a “Convincing Mechanism”
In Hillary Frank’s book, “Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches,” she teaches us how to get our kids to eat beets by convincing them it will turn their poop pink. There are many ways we can use lighthearted humor to get kids to do the things that are typically like pulling teeth.
Want to learn more about how to use humor when dealing with your kids? Here is a great podcast by Mama Instincts.
Find Your Own Laughter
If our kids don’t see us laughing, how will they ever see the value in it? It’s time to think about some ways we can incorporate laughter into our daily lives.
Here are some of my favorite online sources of laughter:
Hilarious mom memes at Buzzfeed.com
Relatable stories at Scarymommy.com
I Mom So Hard videos that will have you rolling. I had the pleasure of enjoying their Mother’s Day show live in action.
Experiencing empathy when viewing other moms’ Pinterest fails
With your Family
Remember to laugh together, too.
Silly dance with your kids.
Play a fun board game as a family.
Put up funny family photos where you can see them during your day.
Start putting funny things your kids say into a jar you can pull from.
On Your Own
Find some time to laugh by yourself.
Watch funny mom-oriented movies.
Make a date for a comedic performance with another mom friend needing the same.
Binge-watch your favorite sitcom.
Start a humor journal. Write down things that make you laugh during your day.
Start a Pinterest board of images and content that you find funny.
Give Laughter Meditation a shot.
Incorporate funny into your morning routine, or elsewhere in the day.
Cultivate Humor in Your Children
We want our children to be able to carry humor as a back pocket resource wherever they go in life. Here are some ways to get them on the right path.
Meet them where they’re at
You can start using humor from a young age, but it’s important to stay developmentally appropriate or they won’t grasp what you are doing. Here is a guide for teaching it from birth.
Use it for good, not evil
Steer away from using sarcasm. It’s better to use lighthearted, happy humor rather than the critical, mean kind.
Create inside jokes
Because you are part of a family group, you have the benefit of being able to take your common quirky experiences and revisit them throughout your lives. It will give you a bonding experience that you can always draw from, and no one else will get it. So it’s a fun secret as well.
How do you use humor in your family? Comment down below.
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