A mother and daughter being silly together. Uplifting humor can be aa great distraction when your child isn't feeling well.

When your child is feeling out of sorts, trying out some uplifting humor can be useful as a comfort measure. By lighting the mood and helping your child laugh, they’ll be less focused on their pain and discomfort.

As adults, we subconsciously turn to humor when feeling sick. When a cold or the flu strikes, we plop on the couch and fire up our favorite sitcoms. Why do we instinctively turn to humor to lift our spirits? To put it simply, laughter makes us feel better.

How does laughter work its magic? Physiologically, laughter does several things.

  1. Increases oxygen intake: Laughter causes us to breathe more deeply and rapidly, which increases our oxygen intake. This, in turn, stimulates our heart and lungs, as well as our muscles and other organs, improving blood circulation and delivering more oxygen and nutrients to our body’s tissues.
  2. Increases endorphins: Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote a sense of well-being and can relieve pain and stress. They also have a calming effect and can boost our mood, making us feel more relaxed and content.
  3. Creates a sense of connection: Laughter is a social activity that often occurs in groups, and it can create a sense of connection and bonding between people.
  4. Improves mood: Laughter can improve our mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It helps us to focus on the positive aspects of life, and to find joy and humor in everyday situations.
  5. Boosts the immune system: Laughter has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the production of immune cells and antibodies. This can help us to fight off illnesses and diseases more effectively.
  6. Increases pain tolerance: Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which can reduce pain and increase our pain tolerance. Laughing can also distract us from our pain and help us to cope with it more effectively.
  7. Soothes tension: Laughter can be a great way to relieve tension and reduce stress. It helps us to relax and let go of our worries and concerns, which can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health.

All things considered laughter works its magic by providing a range of physiological benefits that can improve our physical and emotional well-being.

A boy and a doctor with clown noses on.

It’s no wonder the saying “Laughter is the best medicine,” has been used frequently in medical settings. For some time now, hospitals have recognized the benefits of laughter in reducing patients’ perception of pain.

In one children’s hospital, volunteers visit patients with a “humor cart.” In another, doctors sometimes wear red clown noses to help cheer their patients up.

A mother and so being silly together.

How can you use uplifting humor to comfort sick kids at home?

Using humor in your home to help your child is easy! Before you decide which approach you’d like to try, just remember, humor at your child’s expense is not cool. Humor should always be used in a caring way, and never to make fun of your child.

Mild teasing can escalate into bullying if you take a joke too far, or are not reading the room correctly. If you make a mistake with humor that hurts your child’s feelings, don’t blow it off, or dismiss how they feel. Apologize and make it right. 

Ways to use uplifting humor

When you want to add some levity to your home, it helps to get in touch with your inner child. Children are silly! Children aren’t afraid to be goofy. In fact, they delight in all things ridiculous and farcical! Here’s a list of things you may want to try.

Active Humor Ideas:

Use funny voices or accents. For example, If you are bringing in a snack, be theatrical, bow, and say in a formal voice. “Your dinner is served.”

Funny Voices to Try:

  •    Robot Voice
  •    Friendly monster voice
  • A super high squeaky voice
  •    Your version of any animal
  •    A younger voice
  •    An older voice
A duck and a fox puppet in a puppet show.

Put on a silly puppet Show

While you are practicing you’re silly voices, put them to good use in a silly show for your child. If you don’t have puppets, grab a pair of socks and color on some eyes with a washable marker. Using your child’s stuffed animals can be another great option. Let your child make decisions about how the play develops. Don’t be afraid to ham it up!

Father gets a makeover from his daughter.

 Let your child Give you a silly makeover

This activity is the stuff classic family home videos are made of. Let your child’s imagination run wild on the blank canvas that is your face! Children love to do unexpected things with lipstick and colorful eye shadows. Talk to your child while they do it, and let them know how excited you are to see what they have created.

Allow your child to play with their food

Much to parents’ chagrin, many children do this naturally. This idea can be helpful if you have a kid who you are really trying to get to eat something. At the hospital, one of the things doctors would wait for before sending a child home was making sure they are eating and drinking without any problems. Let’s say you have a kid who is not drinking enough.

Make it fun! Have them get some liquid in by eating popsicles. You could also get a straw and tell them they can blow lots of bubbles in their juice after they take a couple of sips. If you are trying to get your child to eat some crackers, use them like little blocks and build towers. Allow your imagination to run wild and you’ll discover ways to make eating and drinking more entertaining. 

Pretend to be in a comedy club

 The internet is positively filled with jokes. Look some up and try them out. Read a few to your child and ask them which ones are their favorite. Help them learn a few and then pretend to be their audience while they retell them. If you’re going the extra mile, choose a silly outfit and perform jokes for your child. A silly outfit could be socks on your hands or underwear on your head. Allow your child to be the talent judge. You can give them a buzzer, or signs to hold up. 

Low Key Humor Ideas

Let’s face it, a lot of the time parents are too exhausted to do a song and dance show to make their kids laugh. Here are a few more laid-back ideas.

Find some kid-appropriate funny internet videos, you could ever search up old episodes of America’s funniest home videos.

Create some funny poems together. Limericks are fun for kids.

Sing some silly songs, and add funny words to songs they already are familiar with.

Take some funny selfie pictures together.

Have a laughing contest to see who can create the silliest laugh.

Have a “no smiling” or a “staring contest” to see who breaks first.

Final thoughts

Laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s a natural remedy that can boost our physical health, lift our mood, and bring us closer to the people we love. So the next time your child is feeling down or in need of a pick-me-up, don’t forget to prescribe them a healthy dose of laughter. Try a few of these different ideas or create some of your own!

Looking for more ways to help comfort your kids? Check out my articles on easy breathing exercises for kids, 7 ways to help your sick kid get better sleep, and how to use the five love languages to comfort kids.

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