The Motherload
Published in

The Motherload

ENJOYING YOUR CHILD’S SENSE OF HUMOR

Teach a child to cross his eyes and all your photos will look like this!

In my experience, humor in children is pretty basic. Little kids love it when you become goofy, silly, and confused. You can channel your inner Groucho Marx or practice “silly walks” like John Cleese. Walk into the room with an extra pair of pants on your head, and act like everything is normal. Carry a load of laundry in your arms, and keep dropping and picking up clothes with exaggerated moves.

Kids love it when adults bumble or goof up. So, do it on purpose. Look high and low for the kid that’s right behind you. You can set the table for dinner by putting the dishes on the chairs. Then keep mixing the dishes up wrong when they try to fix it.

I’ve found watching my kids develop a sense of humor to be quite wonderful. And they enjoy the bumbling adult long after they are old enough to know it’s a game.

Once they’re reading a bit you can also get them some kid’s joke books. Then your road trips can consist of never ending “knock, knock” jokes and silly kid riddles. Which is actually better than listening to some cartoon they are playing on a tablet or the 500 millionth repetition of the sound track to “Mary Poppins.”

It’s also fun to encourage puns. In the beginning, they won’t get the humor. But, if you keep it up, they will gradually come to appreciate the verbal word play. Most of their early attempts to make a pun will simply not make sense. Then they’ll hit one smack on, and your heart will swell with pride at their punny perfection.

But beware! Dangerous roads are ahead! Pretty much all kids will suddenly become obsessed with potty humor around 5–6 years of age. I remember when my neighbor’s girl hit this stage. I thought, “Wow, I’m glad my kids don’t do that.” Ha, ha! What a newbie I was! They all do it when they hit the right age.

It will probably start with giggling over the word “butt,” and become more scatological as time goes on. The word “fart” is a guaranteed side splitter for years to come.

Some parents find this extremely vulgar, and attempt to squash it. But, I promise you that even if you are no longer hearing it, (unlikely) the potty humor continues behind your back. Other parents, (probably a lot of dads) will embrace their younger self and join in with the more flatulent humor.

Honestly, this stage goes on for many years! In our home, parents generally join in on the fart jokes and slapstick. I do try to shut down the pee and poop jokes because if I don’t…. they will go on, and on, and on, and on,….forever! Sigh.

But….. mix a silly walk… with a fart sound… and a good pratfall…guaranteed hysterical giggles for years to come!

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Kathleen Cawley

Kathleen Cawley

Physician Asst., twin mom, author of “Navigating Modern Parenthood: Warty Truths and Wisdom from an Older Mom with Twins.” Coming out spring/summer 2022.