When we’re going through a stressful time, a little bit of humor can help lift our spirits. It can add a bit of sunshine to the dreariest of days. That’s why learning how to incorporate and appreciate humorous situations in your workplace is so important, especially if you run a child care center. Children thrive in an environment where lighthearted laughter and fun are sprinkled throughout the school day. As a director, you can help set the tone for a learning environment where students are encouraged to develop a healthy sense of humor. This type of behavior, which is so essential to everyday interactions, must be modeled in order for children to learn how to understand it.
The benefits of kids experiencing humor in their interpersonal relationships are many. They include:
1. Learning to think outside the box.
2. Learning creativity.
3. Learning to appreciate different points of view.
4. Learning to understand plays on words and other verbal nuances.
5. Learning positive social interaction skills.
6. Learning to laugh at one’s self (in a healthy way).
Helping teach students various humor-interpretation and development skills can also give teachers a window into their students’ thought processes and their level of social awareness.
Humor is Essential
Whether you’re working with teens who find humor in edgy pop culture-related topics, or young toddlers who are enamored with trying to tell bathroom-related jokes, laughter is a natural part of human development. Researchers have discovered that there’s a connection between the child’s stage of growth and the type of topics they find humorous. This trend can range from tongue twisters fascinating young children who are building up their vocabularies to tiny tots learning to use the toilet, or teens going through adolescence. What they find funny often mirrors something about what they’re going through in each stage of life.
Learning Humor Begins During Infancy
The first time we notice a baby wear a facial expression that looks like a smile, they most likely aren’t actually expressing humor. They’re most likely just showing a nerve-induced reaction to some sort of external stimuli, or straining to expel gas. As cute as these early “smiles” are, they don’t equate to genuine, humor-induced laughter, which typically shows up several months later.
Why Babies Enjoy Peek-a-Boo
If you’ve raised or been around children who are between one and two years of age, you’ve probably played peek-a-boo with them. This popular game is often met with fits of giggles from children during this phase of their development. The reason is that they’re learning the important lesson that just because they can’t see something, it still exists. Before learning this lesson, suddenly losing sight of mom could induce panic or distress. Now that they recognize that mom is simply hiding behind a handkerchief or her hands, they can find humor in the game.
This example highlights how something as simple as playing a simple game can give an educator valuable clues about whether or not a child is hitting their developmental milestones. Best of all, the students won’t even realize they’re being evaluated, so there won’t be any pressure to perform. In the next article, we’ll take a look at some practical ways you can incorporate the use of humor into your daycare center.