Nurture Your Grandchild’s Sense of Humor

This guest post was written by Mary Kay Morrison, author of Legacy of Laughter a Grandparent Guide and Playbook. Her article first appeared in GRAND Magazine

Grandparents, you have a hidden superpower!  You can nurture your grandchild’s sense of humor while engaging in playful fun!  Play tickles the funny bone while nurturing physical strength, mental agility, and social skills. Play is vital not only for the growth and development of a child, but it is enormously beneficial for adults as well. Sharing playful activities with your grandchild will not only nurture them but will invigorate you as well.

Play creates memories that will be forever etched in the mind of a child.  Humor is about seeing funny, not about being funny!  Finding the humor in challenging situations is a great skill to share with grandkids.  Laughter is healing and will combat stress and depression.

5 Stages of Humor Development

  • Peek a Book Stage (birth- 2 years old)
    • Rock and Read, Read, Read!
    • Have continuing conversations. You can tell them anything and they will appreciate listening to whatever you have to say.
    • Fill a small plastic bowl with water. Add some plastic pieces. Enjoy the splashing!
    • Sing songs and share fingerplays.
    • Crack an egg. Have a wipe ready to wash their fingers before they put them in their mouth.
  • Knock-Knock Stage (2 years-school age)
    • Read silly rhyme books.
    • Have fun with boxes. Use appliance boxes for dramatic play.
    • Enjoy nature. Watch birds and find insects.
    • Finger paint with shaving cream on a cookie sheet.
    • Play instruments. You can make drums from boxes and containers.
  • Riddle De Dee Stage (early elementary years)
    • Introduce jokes, riddles, and comic books.
    • Have riddles ready when they arrive. Hide the answers in the house.
    • Play games: Blurt and Apples to Apples are favorites at our house.
    • Cook and bake.
  • Pun Fun Stage (pre-teen years)
    • Enroll in art classes together. Experiment with different art materials. Paint rocks with positive messages and plant them in parks.
    • Make a snow fort and have a snowball fight. Foam snowballs work indoors!
    • Flashlight fun: Study the night sky and light the stars. Try a night hike.
    • Ask about their events and text positive messages. Attend if possible.
  • Joy Flow Stage (teens to adults) How do you find the funny? Share with your teen and be sure that you play every day.
    • Become REAL swingers! Note-we have 5 well-used swings in our yard.
    • Practice Gratitude.
    • Keep and share a FIND THE FUNNY journal.

How will your grandchildren remember you? The positive loving support that comes from close relationships is vital for the optimal development of a child. Grandparents have an extraordinary opportunity to make a ginormous (grandson, Isaiah’s word) impact on the lives of their grandchildren. When you purposefully engage in playful activities with your grandchild, you generate a lifetime of memories and create your very own Legacy of Laughter!

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