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How Humor Teaches Kids Positive Behavior

Updated on February 13, 2017
Stacie L profile image

Stacie L has been an educator for many years and likes to share her experiences and advice.

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?

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

have you ever used your humor to get out of a fight with a bully?

See results

© 2010 Stacie L


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