People say a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. A long sleep may not be a luxury you can indulge in now, but a good laugh we can do 😉
“Kids with a well-developed sense of humour are happier and more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and can handle differences—their own and others’—better”, says Dr. Mary Gavin with KidsHealth.
Around 12 – 18 months, your toddler may show they have a sense of humour. They learn what is typical in their environment and begin to notice when something unexpected happens. As long as it isn’t scary, they may start to see the unexpected as silly and laugh at it.
Their budding sense of humour is a sign of their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Humour requires both sides of the brain—the left side for thinking of a joke, and the right side for appreciating it and laughing.
Here are some ideas for nurturing your toddler’s sense of humour:
Smiling, exaggerated facial expressions, funny noises, and peek-a-boo are all great ways to introduce humour to your toddler. You can also be silly by putting a hat on their foot or pants on their arm while they are getting dressed. Play a game of who can make the silliest face, or put on some music and have a goofy dance party.
Repeat funny happenings with your toddler and laugh with them
A joke never seems to get old at this age. Not only does your toddler enjoy repetition, they want you to laugh along with them again and again.
Laugh when they do
Acknowledging and reacting to things they find funny builds their sense of connection with you as well as their sense of humour. Laugh along with them at a loud noise or a strawberry that fell on the ground.
Have fun with sounds
Make goofy sounds and funny noises with your mouth while you play. You can say “whoop” or “whoosh” when your toddler pushes the ball down the track. They may imitate, and then you imitate and so on,… hang in there with all the repetition and attempts to have fun. Your toddler is an easy audience!
Every time you are willing to be silly and laugh together with your child, it builds important connections in their brain. If comedy doesn’t come naturally to you, just be playful and laugh. Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes listeners feel as though they are actually laughing themselves. Laughter really is contagious 😂
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