Family is the ideal environment to learn to be funny… or not. So, feel free to laugh and smile at her jokes.
A sense of humour is a quality that develops out of the responses from people around us. Family is the ideal environment to learn to be funny… or not. If you never laugh at your child’s antics, even when they flop, or if you punish her when she tries out something new, chances are she’ll stop doing it. According to psychologist Bruno Fortin, “A child will have an easier time developing a sense of humour in a family environment where everyone respects spontaneity, flexibility, the right to have a different opinion, play and humility.” So, feel free to laugh and smile at her jokes, even if you don’t always find them funny. Over the months and years, your confidence in her will help her to become funny and, if she already is, help her to remain so by learning how to fine-tune her humour.
Some situations may sometimes seem strange to children, so they need you to help them understand the meaning of what they see and to laugh about it if the situation so warrants. The first time 4-month-old Malik saw his mom wearing a hat and glasses, he didn’t recognize her. Seeing his little eyebrows drawn into a frown and the concerned look on his face, mom quickly reassured him by taking off her hat: “Look, it’s me, it’s mommy!” Relieved, the little boy had a good laugh. His mom joined in the fun by putting her hat back on and taking it off again a few times to her son’s great delight.
How do you jumpstart your child’s sense of fun? By being funny yourself! What makes Hélène Jacques’ daughters squeal with laughter is “raising” or “lowering” the volume of their dad’s voice by turning an imaginary button. Uncontrollable giggles guaranteed each time! Laughter is contagious and can be triggered in countless ways depending on your style of humour, but the best thing to do is to choose humour adapted to your child’s stage of development.
Having fun every day
On the changing table… When it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, put the clean diaper on your head and pretend you’re looking for it everywhere: “But where is that diaper! I can’t believe it! Now where could I have put it?” (From 6 months).
At the table… Offer your child an object (glass, spoon, etc.) as if you wanted to give it to her. As soon as she reaches for it, quickly take it back, crooning “No, no, no!” Start again with a smile. After a few tries, your child will probably have fun playing the trick back on you. (From 8 months).
On a walk… Ask your walking buddy to push the stroller while you place yourself in front of your child. Walk backwards, in front of her, making faces and yelping as if you were afraid she wanted to run you over. Let the stroller get closer to you and jump to the side at the very last minute. Giggles guaranteed! (From 12 months).
Before reading a story… Tell your child that a naughty word is going to pop up in the story while you read it. As soon as she hears it, she has to repeat it and loudly exclaim: “No!” Read the story normally, and replace a word with the naughty word without warning, for example: “Poopy!” (From 2 years.)