Take a page out of a toddler’s book….laugh! (And then stick it back in there for them)

I think we can all agree that there are few sounds more pleasant to hear than a baby’s laughter. Anyone who has spent time with a baby or even toddler knows that making a child laugh is incredibly easy and that their laughter is infectious. Sadly, it’s a quality that most Australians grow out of. It is said that the average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day, while the average 40-year-old only laughs 4 times a day. Whether or not that actual number is true, it’s certainly believable that kids laugh way more often than us grown-ups do!

In my past blog posts, I have discussed how laughter and comedy can help boost your mood and improve your romantic relationships. Well, it turns out that you can never be too young to start appreciating a good joke (*cough…DAD JOKES*) – and that in some instances it actually helps kids learn.

In a recent Cognition and Emotion research study held in France, researchers found that when children are faced with a demonstration of a toy in a way that involved humour, they immediately attempted to replicate the usage of the toy as demonstrated by the adult. When presented with a serious demonstration or one that didn’t involve laughter, far fewer children attempted to copy the adult’s movements. So laughter can actually facilitate learning in children.

Not only does laughter benefit children by helping them learn, but it also helps adults feel younger again – with actual anti-aging effects on one’s health. There are hundreds of studies dedicated to exploring the positive effects of laughter, and they all basically say the same things: laughter is known to decrease stressful emotions, boost the immune system, strengthen the heart, improve circulation and even aid in the management of chronic pain. While I wouldn’t recommend abandoning medicine in favour of humour, a good laugh now and again certainly can’t hurt!

It turns out that there is some truth in the famous quote by Comedian Michael Pritchard: “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.” You can start by attending a good, family-friendly comedy event. This way, every member of the family (no matter their age) can benefit.