Who doesn’t love a good joke or need a good laugh once in a while? As parents we can get caught up in our day-to-day life and we may not catch the funny moments as often as they appear, or as often as we should. Laughter is nature’s best medicine: it releases happy hormones and endorphins and reduces stress.
Turns out the same is true for children. A study was published back in February in the Journal of Neuroscience which looked at how funny videos turned on kids’ brains. The study looked at 15 children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old and tried to find out what area of the brain, if any, lit up when they reacted to something that was funny. The researchers found that humor turned on two areas of kids brains — the temporo-occipito-parietal junction (TOPJ) and the midbrain (an area deep inside the brain near the bottom of the skull). The TOPJ is an area of the brain that helps humans perceive and appreciate the unexpected things in life and the midbrain helps humans process rewarding feelings — both strengthen the overall idea that humor reduces stress and can help brighten even the worst day. Who doesn’t want that skill for their children?
There are ways you can encourage your child’s sense of humor, to help grow and foster their appreciation of the funny, reduce their risk of developing stress and depression, and generally helping them grow into happier adults. Click through for 7 ways to encourage their sense of humor:
:: What is the best joke your child likes to tell? ::
Photo credit: modified from a4gpa via Flickr