Magazine article Working Mother

Lighten Up!

Magazine article Working Mother

Lighten Up!

Article excerpt

When was the last time you laughed with your kid-the kind of laughter that leaves your stomach aching? If it takes a minute to remember, you need to get into a humor habit-for your child and for you. And now is prime time to get back to belly laughs, during a holiday break with extra moments to connect.

Busy as we are, we can all find time to giggle and get down with our kids, says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and coauthor of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. For one thing, she notes, "we have an opportunity to show them that life is not all about stress." And for another, laughs and levity fuel learning. "Research shows that when things are fun, we learn better because the experience is enhanced by positive feelings and we're more engaged." Just ask your child to read a serious book passage and also a funny one. Guess which she'll want to discuss first, and from which she'll remember more detail?

Goofing with your grade schooleralso helps build basic life skills. Look around and you'll see that a sense of humor breeds success, says Dr. Hirsh-Pasek. Think about the people you hang with at work. Chances are, they make you chuckle. Plus, humor sparks creativity, because at its core is often a situation, question or puzzle that needs to be interpreted and solved with creative thinking.

Don't think you're funny enough to tickle your kid's funny bone? You needn't do stand-up to bring home the laughs. "Humor is simply about approaching what's normal in a new way-a sort of violation of expectation, which schoolage kids go for," says Dr. …

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