A happy kid is a confident kidResearch has shown that children who like a good laugh are more creative, have higher self-esteem, and get along better with peers. Nonsense songs, animal sounds, and lots of crazy gestures bring out a child's giggles — and that's good. Taking advantage of your child's sense of humor can help make hard days run more smoothly.
Funny-sounding words or names, rhymes, and silly songs amuse young children endlessly — they're fun to pronounce and sound delightfully "wrong." To cultivate your child's sense of humor (which, incidentally, is thought to be learned, not inherited), try these ideas:
Call things by the wrong name (when your child knows the right one). Say something like, "That doggie is meowing!"
Play with the sounds of words. Your child may make up silly rhymes like "I love Mommy wommy grommy."
Play dumb. Say, "Now where are my glasses? I can't find my glasses anywhere!" when they're right on top of your head.
Make "mistakes." Try to put your child's socks on his hands or his pants on his arms.
Your preschooler loves this kind of humor because getting the joke allows him to feel smart and "big." Taking a moment to be silly can grease the wheels of cooperation on days when you're running late or dealing with dawdling.
Being around a 3-year-old isn't always a comedy routine. When tantrums, nonstop action, or other patience-testers wear you down, try 5-7-8 breathing:
Breathe in deeply for a count of five, hold your breath for a count of seven, and then slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this four or five times (with your eyes closed if you're in a position to take your eyes off your child for that long) and you're apt to find yourself calmer. (Not more rested, but at least calmer!)
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