Keeping the Humor in Parenting

Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.
—Martin Mull

It’s been called the toughest job you’ll ever love. Once you’ve committed to it, you can’t ever turn back. It’s parenting, and we’re all doing it a little bit differently. What we have in common is that some days are better than others. Many parents find that a little humor goes a long way in making the good days better, and the hard days a little bit easier. Here are some ways to add a little laughter to your parenting life:

Tips for . . .

  • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Pay attention when your baby laughs. It’s hard to resist laughing along.
    • Remember that little kids’ jokes usually aren’t going to make that much sense or be very funny to adults, but laugh along with them anyway. Often their laughter is contagious.
    • Tell your frustrating stories to other parents while trying to find the humor in the situation. Sometimes just stepping back and “looking in” can help you put things into perspective.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Read together humorous books for children. Most good books for young people weave in elements for adults as well.
    • Read books, Web sites, or comics that focus on the funny aspects of parenting. It’s nice to be able to laugh with someone about the foibles of the job.
    • Tell a round-robin humorous story with your family. One person starts and others add elements in turn. These stories often take wild twists and turns.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Watch age-appropriate, funny movies together.
    • Be silly together: Challenge your children to a watermelon seed spitting contest; have a water-balloon fight; have a karaoke contest.
    • Start a “bad picture” book that includes crazy, goofy pictures of every member of your family and your close friends.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Start to include your teenager when you tell funny stories to other adults. Use your best judgment about what kinds of stories are suitable for your teen to hear.
    • Ask them what made them laugh today.
    • Play a game together that encourages laughter. Examples include charades, statue tag, or “slap jack.”
  • Have humorous coffee-table books around the house. Once in a while, pick one up and read a page or two. It will probably brighten your day a bit, and you’ll be setting a good reading example for your teen.

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