6 Ways to Make Your Child Laugh (Expert Reveals)


Making your child laugh often feels like gambling; oftentimes no matter how hard we try, our child is left confused and unimpressed, and other times all it seems to take is a simple sneeze to make them cry tears of laughter. 

The best ways to make your child laugh use encouragement, exaggeration, music, silly stories and jokes, authenticity, and acting like a child again. With these six tips, you are guaranteed to bring laughter to your child as well as teach them the importance of a good sense of humor.

There are a variety of reasons one may want to make a child laugh: from connecting with them and creating a stronger bond to developing a healthy brain and sense of humor, or simply taking advantage of the countless health benefits related to laughter. Continue reading below where we share some helpful resources to help you understand the science behind making your child laugh.

Start with Encouraging Laughter

Research proves over and over the necessity and wonders that come with developing a strong sense of humor during childhood, potentially leading to better stress management and a stronger immune system.

It is important to remember the younger the child, the less frequent they are to laugh, as laughter is something that increases with age and time according to a group of Purdue University researchers. 

This very same group of researchers noticed a high correlation between the duration and frequency of child’s laughter and that of his or her mother, concluding that the more a particular mother laughed, the more her infant also laughed (Source: Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor). This proves how children are likely to mimic our emotions and adapt to our perception of whether something is to be taken as a joke or in a serious manner. 

Overall, a crucial step in making your child laugh is encouraging laughter yourself during your child’s first years of life. This will help you develop and increase your child’s laughing frequency, which is not as strong during their early years, and is likely to become more stable as he grows older and mimics more of your behavior. 

Become a Child Again

In order to get a child to laugh, you first need to understand what goes on in their mind, how they perceive the world, and how they react to specific situations. 

After studying a variety of MRI results performed on various comedians, Neuroscientist Ori Amir noticed that a key approach that differentiated successful comedians from the rest was the ability to understand their audience’s thinking, which resulted in their success when it came to surprising them and feeling amused at their jokes. 

Putting yourself in your child’s shoes and coming down to their level will allow you to better understand their walk and overall obstacles, making you more relatable and less distant in their eyes. 

Also, there is nothing funnier to a kid than an adult acting in a completely different way than that which they are used to. Knowing when to make that switch from an authority figure to class clown, will have your child or students laughing in no time. 

Be Authentic and Honest Showing Them Adults Can Joke Around Too

As adults, we most definitely have it harder than their young peers when it comes to achieving a laugh from our children or students. As part of a study conducted by the Department of Thematic Research, at Linköping University in Sweden, one of the findings tells us children’s laughing frequency is immediately affected when adults are around.

The study states “the presence of adults clearly decreases children’s tendency to laugh.” Our presence alone is already enough to make our job 10 times harder, emphasizing the importance of being honest and authentic. 

This is why the sooner you show them you can be trusted and of your approval to joke around in your presence, the sooner you’ll begin to hear those giggles coming out. To children, oftentimes, as their authority figure or teacher, you alone can be the funniest joke you could ever tell them. You’ll notice they’ll want to joke about your hair, the particular food you eat, or simply the way you write on a classroom-board.

Accepting this and simply being you will quickly help you bond with your students or child. There is nothing funnier to children than their parents or teacher joining in their so innocent jokes about their authority’s figure foreign world. 

Use Music and Sound as Your Allies

There is no wonder most kids’ movies involve some kind of musical or contagious song. Most children enjoy learning through songs, is a great way to encourage laughter and create interest in a certain topic. 

Singing to your students, purposely messing up song lyrics or singing out of tune a song known to them, will quickly get your students to fall off their chairs. 

Besides music, another way to connect with your students is funny voices. Embracing silliness and playfully adapting your tone of voice to theirs is a great way to break the ice. Just imagine telling a joke to a child with the tone of a college professor. This rises nothing but confusion to their still-developing brains. 

Exaggerate Everything

Although young, most kids have a slight understating of how the real world works. There is something amusing to kids when things are taken to the extreme. 

Making purposeful exaggeration of everyday items is a fantastic idea to get your child to laugh, as according to The Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, children have a very “sophisticated grasp of what objects “should” look like or how things “should” work. Change a characteristic appearance or behavior and you’ve got something that’s funny to your child.” 

Here are a few ways you can incorporate this to get your child to burst into tears:

  • Exaggerate your speech, speak loudly or really soft to the point of whispering.
  • Exaggerate gestures like chewing, jumping, laughing or simply writing extremely big or small on the board. 
  • Make use of visual exaggerations as well, kids love the unusual. For example, they are used to seeing an apple no bigger than the size of a hand, what about bringing to class a large fake apple. 

Children love to see that which is common in an uncommon way. Make use of taking jokes and actions to the extreme to get a good laugh out of your child or students. 

Tell Silly Stories and Jokes

In the same way that kids love extremes and exaggerations, they love the unexpected and the feeling of anticipating what is going to happen next that comes with it. 

Combing Funny Voices with Storytelling

There is no better way to get a child’s attention than to provide them with a funny story told in a very unique and entertaining way. Making use of funny voices when telling a story will keep your child interested and excited.

Provide Them with a Story Twist

An easy way to get a kid to laugh is simply by taking a story they already know, like the princess and the frog for example, and providing them with an unexpected and funny ending.

Fun Jokes for Kids Make them Laugh

Here’s where I plug our coloring book (smile!). As a teacher for decades and a mom of 4, I know how much kids love jokes! The silliest, cheesiest joke will still bring huge smiles and big laughs from your littles.

But don’t worry! You don’t have to be a comedian to tell jokes. I’m certainly not! Using jokes from our site like our popular Peanut Butter & Jelly Jokes to jokes about Disney characters, you’ll have plenty of material.

As well, don’t forget the coloring book I alluded to earlier. Fun Jokes For Kids (available at Amazon) is chock full of silly, easy to read, jokes for kids. They can color and laugh at the same time!

Everyday Can Include Some time to Laugh

Overall, try to simply find the best activities you and your child already enjoy and turn them into something fun and extraordinary. For example, singing together while in the car, taking silly photos together, drawing funny pictures of day to day things, reading a book together while adding a funny voice to keep your child entertained. 

Laughing together will not only help your bond grow stronger, but will help your child assimilate things differently as a strong sense of humor is known to help shape children’s perspective on life, as well as cope better when presented with difficult circumstances. 

Do not force a laugh out of your child, as laughing is not a forced behavior but an instinct that comes after their brains process a situation or statement as “funny.’ 

If you wish to increase the frequency at which your child laughs or associates something as funny, the best thing is to slowly cultivate this behavior yourself by constantly providing them with exposure to continuous laughing and humor.  

Bonus: If All Else Fails To Make Your Child Laugh, Surprise Them

This is not just a simple suggestion thrown onto the end. This could very well be the secret ingredient included in all of the others. Surprise is one of the best ways to evoke laughter in children.

There are many forms that this can take…

  • Excitement
  • Wonder
  • Shock
  • ‘Fun’ Fear

This is a way to break the mundane and give them the unexpected. This has to be done in a time when the are sure that only the ordinary is coming. The thrill gives that desire to laugh, and then the fun begins.

So, what are some of the ways you can do it? Kids love a lot of the same things in different packages. Here are some of the core things you can try to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Chase them
  • Jump out and scare them
  • Hide something they are looking for (then deny any knowledge of its whereabouts)
  • Pretend they are invisible and you are worried where they could be
  • Only speak by screaming
  • Fall in the floor every time they say mom or dad (make them figure it out)

These are the sorts of things my husband does in a Karate class to keep them doing the same things over and over. Repetition builds skill, but it is a mountain to overcome when trying to bring the laughs.

Just do the unexpected at the most unexpected time and you may even surpass the laughs and head right into the squeals. This could even be followed by running or dancing in place. When that happens, you know you have some skills.

Punchline for Ways to Make Your Child Laugh

So to recap, there are six really good ways to help you bring your child to laughter:

  1. Encouragement: first, just simply encourage laughter. You can do this by laughing a lot yourself. Children learn by mimicking their parents, especially their moms.
  2. Act Like Child: Do fun things with your child, that are child-focused. From playing kid games with your child to going to amusement parks, acting like a kid will make it natural to laugh.
  3. Authenticity: Unfortunately, research tells us our very presence as an adult halts laughter in kids. This means you need to help your child feel comfortable and at ease with you. Be relatable and authentic and that will help lower the affective filter-making laughter possible.
  4. Music: Music can bring the party! Play upbeat tunes or make up your own for cleaning up, setting the dinner table, or brushing teeth before bed. Laughter is a by-product.
  5. Exaggeration: Goofy, over-the-top actions will help your child laugh. What kid doesn’t find it hilarious to see mom, dad, or teacher acting like a clown?
  6. Tell Silly Stories & Jokes: This doesn’t need to be complicated. Use a joke site like ours or funny books like Fun Jokes For Kids Coloring Book and you’ll have your child (or student) laughing out loud!

Bonus: Surprise them in each of these are simply by itself!

I hope you find the above list simple and easy for bringing laughter to kids! I sure have~ Enjoy!

Sources

https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/tyc/jun2015/playing-laughing-and-learning-preschool

https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Patients-Families/Health-Library/HealthDocNew/What-s-Funny-to-a-Preschooler

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00852/full

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-make-any-child-laugh_uk_5d8a2957e4b0d2694655022e

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/child-humor.html

https://kidsentertainerhub.com/what-makes-little-kids-laugh/

Jackie Booe

A mother to four kids, grandmother ("Oma") to a growing number, a retired teacher for over 18 years, and a wife to Mat since 1994, Jackie knows kids and laughter. She holds a license to teach in 3 states and is certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners, with practical experience at all levels. She holds three degrees in the field of education and has taught education courses online at the university level as an adjunct professor, too. She has mentored numerous education interns, hosted professional development for educators, and tutored, in addition to homeschooling her own children.

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