Magazine article Work & Family Life

How to Keep Your Toddler's Laughter Going

Magazine article Work & Family Life

How to Keep Your Toddler's Laughter Going

Article excerpt

Q My three-year-old loves to laugh and he's learned that he can say and do things to make other people laugh. I can't take credit for his sense of humor, but I'd like to encourage it. Any suggestions?

- C.W., Teaneck, NJ

A You probably did more than you might imagine to tickle your son's funny bone. And you're wise to want to keep the laughter going - because humor promotes children's intellectual, social and emotional development.

Humor researcher Paul H. McGhee, Ph.D., advises parents to pay attention to what makes kids laugh at different ages - and to provide the humor that matches the child's developmental level.

With young kids, look for ways to add merriment at mealtime. Orchestrate little surprises. Sing and dance with your child to funky music. Play goofy made-up games and, of course, read to your child every day - story books, poetry and nursery rhymes.

Young kids are tickled by funnysounding words and silly pictures. And you can add humor by playing off the familiar in a favorite book, says Dr. McGhee. For example, you can make up surprise endings or read the characters in different voices.

Of course, nothing beats humor when it comes to encouraging school-age kids to read. Riddle books expose them to new words and the repeated telling of riddles consolidates the memory of those words and makes them more accessible in everyday life. …

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