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Good for a Laugh
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One gloomy day, years ago, my husband and I headed out in the car with our kids, then about two and four years old. I can’t remember now the cause of the problem, but the kids were cranky and my husband and I neared the end of our patience. En route to our destination we made a quick stop at the pharmacy. I ran into the store while my husband stayed in the car with the kids. While shopping for the needed items, I brooded over the problem with the kids and how I could fix it.

Returning to the car, I found everyone smiling and laughing. What? Looking at my husband, I saw the reason for their mirth. Perched on his head was our little girl’s pink knitted hat. He sang some silly ditty while pretending to dance right there in the driver’s seat. The cranky spell was broken!

Isn’t it interesting how my husband’s one simple act of goofiness changed the whole mood of the family that afternoon and fixed the problem of grumpy children?

Although often overlooked, humor is a very important aspect of happy families. When we laugh, we relax and happy hormones flood our bodies. Laughter changes moods and perspectives in a positive direction, as well. Among many other positive effects, humor helps families cope with stress and people tend to feel more connected to those who share their laughs.

There is a dark side to humor, though. Humor intent on demeaning people is never a good idea, especially in families. For one person to be singled out and made the butt of a joke is emotionally damaging, especially if that person is repeatedly shamed through humor.

Strengthens Relationships

If humor comes naturally, you may already instinctively know what a positive role humor plays in relationships. If you are not naturally humorous you may need to take a closer look at how laughter strengthens relationships, then determine to lighten up a bit.

Sometimes negative behavior patterns and crankiness in kids can be diverted, avoiding more severe outcomes. Just as you try to distract your toddler or baby with another toy if he doesn’t want to share, try using humor as a distraction. Unexpectedly do something silly or funny to make your kids laugh. Just that quick change of emotional direction can sometimes get your child back on the right track.

Try finding ways to bring fun and laughter into your interactions with children. Don’t take yourself too seriously or get hung up on your status as the grown-up. Be willing to laugh at yourself!

The Bible tells us that a merry heart is like good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Research shows that humor can help us stay well, physically, but happy hearts also do great things for our relationships. Infuse the atmosphere of your home with humor and watch people relax and enjoy each other a whole lot more!

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By Nancy Gerard. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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