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How Humor Teaches Kids Positive Behavior

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funny kids on Flickr by hoyasmeg

funny kids on Flickr by hoyasmeg

Humor is healthy

If you want your kids to be healthy, you must encourage their sense of humor.

"What did the mayonnaise say to the fridge?
Close the door, I'm dressing! "

One of the oldest kid's jokes ever!

Humor is the ability to make something laughable or amusing. To induce laughter, comedy or amusement. It is usually deemed humorous if others enjoy what you are saying or doing. Laughing at yourself or telling yourself jokes is another issue altogether!

Ever notice that most comedians tell stories about using humor to deal with bullies in school? It's true!

My favorite saying is “laughter is the best medicine.” I truly believe that having a sense of humor is healthy; mentally, physically and emotionally. No one cries when watching a Jim Cary movie.

Flickr ocean yamato

Flickr ocean yamato

Why is Humor Important for Kids

Having a sense of humor is developed early on in a home where laughter was encouraged. When I think of someone who I like being around, the one who can make me laugh always comes to mind.

Growing up with the skills to get along with other kids is more important today than ever before. With epidemic accounts of bullying in the news, it has occurred to me that people need to lighten up.

Why is there so much anger and hostility? Why are young children attacking others with their words and fists? Do they feel unheard?

Keith Burrus Kid stand up Comic

Laughter and having the ability to use your wit can prevent some ugly situations in life.

If children can be taught to joke around and be pleasant in the face of danger, it would help to deter many episodes of bullying and fist fights. It may also lessen the degree of on line bullying or “cyber-bullying” to a degree, though it's unknown at this point.

I do know that there are some bullies that are mentally handicapped or emotionally damaged from abuse so no amount of joking will penetrate their hurtful intentions.

Perhaps schools and teachers can encourage some comedy to change the mood. I know class clowns can be a problem at times. So try setting aside time before lunch or at the end of the day to let the clowns or anyone who likes the spotlight, to tell their jokes. This can work wonders. I used this technique as a reward for good work and behavior, to keep the class clowns in line, and allow others to share their jokes.

Using your wit to win friends and stay out of harms way is an essential skill we adults are not teaching. Of course one would have to know how to have a sense of humor in the first place. I meet so many people that don't laugh and appreciate jokes. How sad is that?

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If you were one of many children that grew up in an angry, tense, non-nonsense home then I hope you have recovered as an adult. Recognizing that you are unhappy is essential and developing a sense of humor is just as important. It can literally make you feel better.

Watching comedy shows and movies and laughing loudly will change your whole outlook on life.


Benefits of Humor

Laughter is beneficial not only as a way to make friends, stay out of harms way and entertain the family. It also has a vital role in stress relief.

Endorphins are released as one laughs so enjoyment is actually healthy.

Stress creates many health issues, leading to high blood pressure, anxiety, diseases,

and social isolation.

Resources to Teach Humor

There are some excellent resources on the market today that can help parents.

The first one is by Louis R. Franzini, Ph.D. He has written a book, “Kids who laugh: How to develop your child's sense of humor.” The table of content includes some chapters on, characteristics of children's humor, potential abuses of humor by children and humor uses by special needs children.

This is 224 pages paperback from square One Publishers, priced from $7.95- $14.95.


The second book I want to spotlight is The Laughing classroom: Everyone's Guide to teaching with Humor and Play, by Diane Loomans and Karen Kolberg.These ladies have lessons and techniques that were used in the classrooms to enhance learning and develop social skills. The techniques are divided into three parts: the warm-ups, laughing lessons and play breaks

Some chapter titles include,

  • Fifty excuses for not laughing,
  • the laughing teacher,
  • the laughing classroom quiz,
  • humor homework, and
  • using laughter forever after.

Published by HJ Kramer/New World Library with 240 pages, selling for $7.00 -$11.00 and well worth it! Even though it is geared for elementary school students, a teacher should be able to adapt it to older students.

Joseph Mendel, Ph.D. authored “Humor, Play and Laughter: Stress-Proofing life with your Kids.”

This is a 193 page paperback published by Love and Logic press.

It retails for around $3.00 – $10.00.

Some chapters from his book are:

Play is a Free learning Tool,

The Natural High of Endorphins,

Coping Strategies around the World and

Symbols of Juvenile and Adolescent Humor.

A 1000 Crazy Jokes for Kids by Michael Johnson.

It's a paperback with 192 pages by Ballentine Books. It Retails for around $4.00 and contains many silly limericks, one liners, knocks-knocks, silly rhymes and waiter humor. Great for classrooms with clean humor.

The Best Knock Knock Jokes for Kids by Bob Phillips has sold over 9 million copies already! This paperback contains many slap stick jokes that all ages will appreciate.

It will keep the kids occupied on long car trips, parties and family get togethers. Harvest House Publishers with 112 pages and retails for $4.99.

Some jokes you may recognize such as :

“Who's there?”,

“All this knocking s getting old!”,

“I'm coming-just kidding!” and “Isn't your hand getting tired?”

The final book I'll discuss is ”Jokelopedia: The Biggest,Best,Silliest,Dumbest Jokebook Ever” by authors Ilana Weitzman, Eva Blank,Roseann Green and Alison Benjamin.

There are more than 1700 jokes in this huge compilation of jokes written for 9-12 year olds. It contains the usual knock-knock jokes, teacher jokes, elephant jokes and doctor jokes. No one is immune from ridicule. Here's a sampling of the one liners:

*“Did you hear about the two antennae that met on a rooftop, fell in love, and got married? The wedding wasn’t much, but the reception was amazing!”
*”What kind of books do skunks read? Best-smellers.” Yes, typical kid humor and clean.

Jim Carrey in The Grinch

Final thoughts on Teaching Kids Humor

Being the class clown is often frowned upon but it is a coping mechanism to deal with bullies. It's a proven fact that being unhappy and stressed out can lead to many health issues.Younger children are becoming stressed and developing major health risks now more than ever.

It's not difficult to teach or learn how to appreciate humor. It's actually healthy and good for the soul. The best ways is to start reading from a joke book to your family. If they like your delivery, then try telling your jokes to your friends.

Kids can make up jokes and try them out also. You never know who will be the next Jeff Foxworthy! Other ways to learn include watching videos of funny slapstick humor. Admittedly I'm not very good at telling humorous stories and jokes, but I try.

Some of my favorite laughs come from a wide range of style and generations. I used to watch some older comedians such as The Three Stooges , Marx Brothers, the Little Rascals, and Bugs Bunny Cartoons for starters. Later comedians like Steve Martin in “The Jerk”, Jim Carrey's rendition of Dr. Seuss's, “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central, the Cartoon Network,"The Simpsons", "Family Guy", "Married with Children", to name a few. Is it any wonder there are so many comedy sitcoms on television?

Using Humor to Prevent Fights

© 2010 Stacie L


peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 27, 2015:

lots of useful points, kids who are humorous are more cheerful, caring and forgiving

Stacie L (author) on September 12, 2012:

Teachable Moments: Thanks for your comments about teaching kids humor. I think it makes everyone healthier!

TeachableMoments from California on September 11, 2012:

Great hub! Very useful suggestions for parents and caregivers. Thank you!

Stacie L (author) on November 28, 2010:

I love that story Kaie Arwen! Thanks for reading and sharing!:-)

Kaie Arwen on November 28, 2010:

My story of the week........... I work part of my day with an 8th grade autistic child............... people have worked really hard with him over the years on double meanings, alliteration, and "joke telling," and although I've overseen his testing and known him for years this is the first year I've actually worked with him on a regular basis. Last week he needed a break, so we went to take a walk.......... and as usual he was 15 paces ahead of me hurrying a quickly as possible to beat me around the corner. I called to him and asked him to wait for me to catch up. He said "You're ketchup, well you'll have to ketchup to the mustard."

Maybe not so funny in writing ........... maybe you'd have to have been there........... but he loved that I laughed! A sense of humor is a gift that everyone's received. It needs to be nurtured and is too easily forgotten. This was great! Kaie

Stacie L (author) on November 27, 2010:

heart4theword: thank you for the comments,I think we are all too serious today and kids need to laugh and have fun.

Social skills are lacking and bullying may be lessened by teaching a sense of humor. :-)

heart4theword from hub on November 26, 2010:

As they say, Laughter is the best medicine! Never seen any writing, or heard anyone speak on the importance of children having laughter? I remember hearing a young child laugh so hard, that it came from deep within their gut:) It was so funny, I couldn't stop laughing the child under 1 year old laughing! Your right it is important for children to laugh:) As I read about it...I recalled many times, where the child was to serious! Un-easy about life, when they should be outside playing getting fresh air:) Thanks for a great read, Stacie L:)

Stacie L (author) on November 11, 2010:

@onegoodwoman: thank you for those awesome comments!

I beleive in this ;-)

Stacie L (author) on November 11, 2010:

thank youfor your comment maggs 224.

I thought this kid was good.;-)

onegoodwoman from A small southern town on November 11, 2010:

I do believe this is the

very first article, on this

topic that I have ever seen!

It was useful, and well written.

And it was a refreshing find.

I marked it both, useful

and awesome!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on November 11, 2010:

An interesting Hub and I liked the video

Stacie L (author) on November 11, 2010:

woodamarc; yes, a sense of humor is a definite stress reliever!

thanks for reading!

Marc Woodard from Portland, Oregon on November 11, 2010:

For kids to survive in today's climate requires a sense of humor to get through the everyday stress load.

Stacie L (author) on November 11, 2010:

katrinasul; thank you for that comment. working with kids for many years gave me some insight and I thought it would be a good topic.


katrinasui on November 10, 2010:

I rally enjoyed your hub! You explained your topic very well. I think kids need a sense of humor in this crazy world and not to take things so serious.

Stacie L (author) on November 10, 2010:

@NCBler; it's good to see a parent that can appreciate their child's different sense of humor.

keep encouraging it.


Stacie L (author) on November 10, 2010:

@bojanglesk: thank you for reading and commenting on my hub!

Glad you enjoyed it.

NCBIer on November 10, 2010:

You've made several very important points, thank you. My 8 year old son has a wonderful, if odd, sense of humor which I am continuously trying to encourage. The main reason, though there are many others, is that he is far too serious in most respects. He takes things literally and is easily upset by simple misunderstandings from people who are not quite so black and white. He is learning though and humor is the key. Thanks for hub and the resources!

bojanglesk8 on November 10, 2010:

Good hub, I enjoyed reading it.

Stacie L (author) on November 10, 2010:

@ ghomefitness; 6 year olds are fun. They are very funny and I'm glad you recognize it.:-)

ghomefitness from Chicago,IL on November 10, 2010:

My six year old is going through a Knock Knock phase, I am glad to know it will help her later in life :)

Stacie L (author) on November 10, 2010:

Kids have a natural humor if the adults in their lives encourage it and not discourage it and calling it non sense..

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 10, 2010:

Jokes and humor I think are natural to children. sometimes adults misinterpret their humor.

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