No kidding: Studies show that telling a joke, playing a game, making a funny face, acting silly or just sharing a smile helps boost your child’s physical and emotional health. Here’s how.
A hearty yuk is more contagious than a cold and a lot healthier too. Humour can:
• rev up the immune system
• increase energy
• improve digestion
• keep your ticker in tip-top shape
• help your tot get a good night’s sleep
Get in on the giggles yourself and you could reduce your risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Some studies also show that having a bout of the chuckles is similar to a low-intensity workout; researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter burned about 50 calories. (Vacuuming or washing windows for about the same time burns the same amount. Which would you rather do?)
Homework got your kids down? Just a little comedy can help lift a crummy mood and perk up a negative attitude. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore found that humour eases the effects of stress; giggling releases the feel-good chemical serotonin and helps kids let go of anxiety, tension and anger. Kids with a healthy sense of humour also tend to be happier, more spontaneous and optimistic, and they can better handle tough times, such as starting a new school or dealing with playground squabbles. And that’s no joke.
Stay in touch
Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.