Image of children courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Is there any better sound in the world than hearing your child in fits of laughter and giggles? We all know just how infectious it is. The immediate benefit of laughter is evident by the way it makes us and our children feel. Reading and listening to stories stirs an array of emotions within us but reading humorous books makes us feel relaxed and happy. It is by nurturing this association between books and happiness that children are more likely to want to read. If a child feels happy when reading it is only natural that they will want more of what is making them feel good.
- Laughter is fun. When something is funny, it’s so much more enjoyable and easier to read. Laughter immediately lifts a person’s mood so suddenly homework reading is no longer a chore but a pleasure.
- A book that makes a child laugh helps them to feel more connected to the story. Laughter is an emotional response to a comment or situation and by laughing the child has formed an understanding of the story and starts to interact with it.
- When sharing the laughter with a parent or carer who is reading the story it becomes a social interaction between two people whereby the mutual enjoyment of the story can help the child to feel secure and understood which can only strengthen the bond between them.
- Stories encourage children to develop their own sense of humour. By recognising funny phrases or words in the book they are reading, children start to build their own sense of humour essential for dealing with life’s ups and downs. Understanding a joke is more complex than we might initially think. It often requires an understanding of a much larger context so teaches them to consider the bigger picture about the world around them and how people and objects relate to one another.
- Laughter is said to be a great healer of both physical and emotional health. Once laughter involuntarily kicks in, it stimulates an increase in the release of endorphins in the brain which contribute to the feeling of being happy and relaxed with reduced physical tension around the face, neck and shoulders. This means a humorous book becomes a mechanism for relaxation offering an outlet for our children to wind down and forget about any worries they may have, even if for a brief moment. Laughter has also been said to increase the number of cells producing anti-bodies which strengthen the immune system and reduce cortisol levels to boost the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and keep blood sugar stable.
So let me leave you with a little poem I wrote about laughter.
THE GIGGLE BUG
A chuckle a day
Keeps the germs at bay,
A giggle, a chortle, tee hee.
That bit was so funny,
I’m holding my tummy,
My head is still bursting with glee.
It’s a hilarious ditty
So rib-tickling-ly witty,
I’m enjoying this jovial path.
I’m really not faking,
My stomach is aching
Caught up in a big belly laugh.
Now you’ve started to snigger,
It’s a hysterical trigger
That is winding us both up in mirth.
Sitting bent over double,
In a merriment bubble
Is the sound of our laughter’s true worth.
To complete this series of blogs, “A Doorway to a Bigger World: Part 3: Imagination” is out soon.
If you’re curious to read more about the benefits of laughter check out this blog I read earlier this year The Power of Nonsense.