Some of the good news about parenting is that you can use your sense of humor. And it may be best if you can learn to look with humor at some of the predicaments you will find yourself.
The young child under the age of six years is a literal learner and doesn’t get jokes or play on words. They do laugh at slap stick humor-funny faces, noises and gestures. Start to laugh, and an under sixer will laugh with you. They might not know why, but if you laugh, they’ll laugh.
As soon as your child starts with the knock-knock and elephant jokes, you’ll know that they have entered into a new developmental stage of learning. Since 1948 the Goofus and Gallant cartoons in Highlights magazine have been using humor to show children thoughtful and thoughtless manners. The adventures of Goofus and Gallant endure because they tap into the elementary aged child’s sense of humor.
As parents we can tap into that sense of humor to help our children learn.
We don’t want to use sarcasm or ridicule as a type of humor. Also, it is helpful if we see our children’s behavior as part of the process of growing up.
Babies with food smeared all over their faces are adorable. Their messy faces aren’t a statement of us or a reflection of how we parent. Babies are naturally messy as they learn to feed themselves.
Elementary aged students aren’t going to be as clean and manicured as an adult. They are too busy getting out and exploring the world to worry about how they look. Again, it’s about their stage of development.
Teenagers are going to want to spend a lot of time with their friends, and use enough shampoo to make up for their earlier years. Remember, it’s about them, not you.
Laugh and sing and be silly with your under sixes.
Need them to get into the bathtub? Then sing “This is the way we take a bath, take a bath, take a bath, this is the way we take a bath, when we are this dirty,” and march like the Pied Piper to the bathroom. We don’t have to be serious all the time.
Our over sixers love jokes and learn through using humor
Learn a few elephant and knock-knock jokes or make up a few of your own. Knock-knock. Who’s there? Your mother. Your mother who? Your mother who is still waiting for the dinner dishes to be put in the dishwasher. Why did the elephant cross the road? To see if they could find dirty gym clothes.
For the teenager, limericks might be a way to tap into their or your sense of humor.
For the sixteen year old stressing over prom:
There once was a girl named McGew
Who looked for the perfect prom shoe
She looked in the store
And need I say more,
That they were there, silver and blue.
Laugh. Laugh with your children. Have fun. Use their sense of humor to make parenting and teaching fun for you. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Your children will too!