We recently published a series of funny jokes for toddlers and preschoolers. While this may seem like simple light-hearted entertainment to some, laughter is incredibly important for children, especially the very young. Indeed, it is a crucial part of their early years learning and development. We’ll explore the importance of laughter for little ones in today’s post.
Laughter is a crucial part of early years learning and development.
A Sense of Humour is Learned
Experts believe that babies are born ready to laugh. However, their sense of humour is something they gradually develop as they grow older. Because of that, exactly what makes them laugh will change over time. This makes total sense because language skills are also developing in the early years, so what a child finds funny will, like the child, develop. This happens naturally as they gradually comprehend more about the world around them and even begin to understand things from another person’s perspective.
Laughter has Many Benefits to Children
There are several obvious, and many less obvious, benefits of laughter to children.
The more obvious benefits of laughter:
- Shared laughter is a great way for children to bond with one another and to adults/parents.
- Laughter is a fun experience i.e. something we all enjoy.
- As such, laughter lightens moods and generally increases happiness.
- Laughter can be used as a tool to cheer children up when they’re having a bad day or have had a bad experience.
- It is also something that encourages children to show their characters, be spontaneous and to be playful.
And some important, but less obvious, benefits of laughter:
- Laughter can distract children from upset or pain and mask some of their discomfort if they are experiencing illness or have suffered injury.
- Laughter helps children to think in more creative ways, even to think laterally. That can only help their learning processes and problem-solving abilities going forwards.
- Laughter boosts social skills, self-esteem and even resilience.
- Laughter releases hormones (i.e. endorphins) into the bloodstream that make children feel good. In this way, mental health can be kept more healthy through regular laughter, with less likelihood of developing depression.
- Laughter will reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and even reduce the child’s blood sugar levels.
- Research also shows that the effects of laughter can protect children against certain illnesses.
- Digestion can also be improved through regular laughter.
- Sleep can also be higher in quality after a day full of laughter.
Stages in Humour Development
Very young babies are likely first to begin to smile broadly and this is a real first milestone that indicates that they find something enjoyable or funny. Their first giggles may appear around the age of 3-4 months and then, at about 5 months, they’ll realise they can make others laugh — and they will enjoy that. From around 7 months, they will start learning to become little comedians through more creative body movements, expressions and voices. They may begin to tease you from around 9-10 months by playing cheekily with things they know they’re not supposed to, grinning while doing so. Indeed, by the age of one, they will find the breaking of some social rules extremely funny. Once they reach two, they will extend this through the use of comical language, which they now understand far more. And that’s when the real fun begins!
Note that the milestones above are only a rough guide, so don’t be concerned if your child’s sense of humour develops more slowly than indicated; it’s a slower process for some.
Our Nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham
Thanks for visiting the Leaps and Bounds blog. We are a nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham (very close to Bearwood, Smethwick, Harborne and Ladywood) and are also proud to be one of the few Forest Schools in the Birmingham area. We offer high quality weekday childcare for babies and children under-five virtually all year round. So, if you are looking for a nursery, crèche, playgroup or pre-school in the Birmingham area, Leaps & Bounds would be a wonderful choice. For more details, or to apply for a nursery place, please get in touch: