Picture the most fun moment you've experienced with your child or children in the last few weeks. Did that moment include laughter?
Did it include rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles until one of you couldn’t breathe anymore? Maybe it included a funny moment when the communication barriers between you and your teenager were suddenly broken down?
I cannot think of a single thing that brings more joy and connection to my family than laughing together.
And there's good reason for this. A wealth of research has demonstrated the positive benefits of humor, and more specifically of laughing, on children and adults. Physically speaking, laughter can activate the immune system, decrease stress hormones, relax muscles, and reduce pain; laughter also seems to have positive benefits on brain function.
The fact that laughter is often shared with others leads to greater social connections. For kids, a sense of emotional attachment with their parents, one that often comes when you are having fun together, can be the key to healthy future development.
Whatever the scientific explanation, the basic truth is that laughter feels good. And I truly believe that laughter shared with our spouses and children can be an antidote to the challenges of everyday life, and maybe even some of the bigger challenges we’ll face (as long as we are laughing with each other, and not at each other).
There are a million ways to bring laughter into the life of your family. Here are 20 of our favorites, in no particular order:
Go ahead, get silly. And revel in the moment when your toddler does her signature uncontrolled giggle or your teenager rolls his eyes but the side of his lips curl a bit and you know you’ve gotten to him. You and your children will be better for it.
What brings on the belly laughs in your family?
It takes a village!
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