They say laughter is the best medicine.
And while I can think of something else that is a bit more effective for truly solving your problems (Jesus), I do have to agree that laughter is good for everyone. In fact, Proverbs 17:22 says that a joyful heart is good medicine.
And it’s true. Even when the darkest storms are raging in our homes, a little comic relief is just exactly what our hearts need to weather the storm. Laughing together builds a strong family bond, heals brokenness, and makes memories that won’t soon be forgotten.
But sometimes when life is hard, we feel like it’s not ok to laugh. Kind of like when a friend trips over something and falls. Inside, our heart is filled with hysteria because it was funny, yet we must hold it in because we wouldn’t want to offend. It was much like this when the darkest trial of our life was knocking at the door.
It seemed almost heinous to be laughing at such a time, but it felt so good. We found that the Bible was right. Although our circumstances weren’t very funny, our hearts could still be filled with joy. Laughing together despite those hard moments was indeed good medicine. Just like it was when I was growing up.
I remember my mama break dancing on the kitchen floor while she was making pancakes. I can still see her nightgown sliding all over the floor, occasionally getting caught by her house slippers. It’s a memory that my sister and I recount at least once a year.
I know there were lots of hard things growing up with my single mama. I remember the lack, the bullying because of our poor appearance, and the stress of being stretched so thin. But I remember mama on the floor break dancing first. It’s the loudest memory and the one that almost always comes to mind when I think of her.
And I want that for my kids.
When they grow up and find themselves sitting around the dinner table with their own families, I want them to have so many memories of laughter that they don’t even think of the hard things. I want them to remember the smile on my face, even if things weren’t perfect in our lives.
And I bet you do, too. But if we are going to accomplish that, it’s going to take some intentional parenting. So let’s make a list of ideas!
How to Create A Home Filled With Laughter
1. Don’t be too serious
Unless you need to be serious, don’t be serious. It’s ok to laugh when someone says something funny. We don’t have to be “proper” all the time. Of course, we aren’t going to joke at the expense of someone else (EVER), but we can laugh when our kids do silly things. I think it’s ok to laugh even when they do the wrong thing. You can still instruct your child that his/her behavior was not acceptable. It doesn’t ruin your parenting. It makes you real.
For example, let’s say your child runs into the house with a snowball and pelts you. What do you do? First, LAUGH! It was funny and he got you. Then tell him that snow stays outside and let him help you clean up the mess. He will learn that the snow shouldn’t have been in the house, but will remember that instead of freaking out at what he thought was funny, you enjoyed it. Honestly, this makes kids more likely to want to please you and obey the “no snow in the house” rule in the future. Wouldn’t you be more compelled, too?
2. Sing crazy songs together
I have a love/hate relationship with the crazy songs that my mom sang when I was a kid. Most days I say I hate them. But out of the very same mouth, I find myself singing the same crazy songs to my kids. Why? Because they are funny and always make the kids laugh. (So, I guess the truth is, I really love them. Keep this in mind when you think your kids hate them.)
Sometimes I sing a song on the radio in a crazy voice (like an opera singer or a robot). Other times, I sing the tune of a familiar song with made up words. And sometimes I just plain out make up something completely ridiculous. The kids have been known to join in. They have also been known to duck down and try to pretend they don’t know me.
3. Read funny books together
This one is a little less embarrassing than the crazy songs, but sure to foster hysterical laughter. Next time you go to the library, grab a handful of picture books or even chapter books that are funny. I think this particular method of bringing laughter into your home has so many wonderful benefits. You get to snuggle, you get educated, and you learn to enjoy life.
It’s usually not hard to find books that will make you laugh out loud, but here is a list of our all-time laugh out loud favorites.
4. Have a stand up comedy night
Most kids love to tell jokes. So I created a Comedy Night family fun night. The idea is simple: laugh until you drop. Each family member gets a turn at the “mic” to tell jokes (free printable jokes included). Then we have a silly dinner and finish the whole night off with a silly face contest or a photo booth prop party.
5. Play games
Of course, there are tons of other great ideas for family fun night games. We also love to play board games. I can’t say that we played many games growing up, but I love doing this with my kids now. Almost any board game can bring out the smiles, but we are smitten with the silliest ones like Headbandz and Mustache Smash. You’re never too old for that kind of fun!
You can see our list of board game favorites here.
6. Have a YES day
This one tends to terrify parents, but I promise it turns out completely amazing. Have you ever set out to say “yes” to your kids all day for one whole day? I was very hesitant to do it myself. Find out what happened here.
7. Do something totally unexpected
Although I love every single one of the ideas I mentioned above, I have to admit that this one brings the most joy to my heart as a mama. Have you ever seen the faces of your kids when you fill the swimming pool with bubbles or put shaving cream on the slip n slide? I have and it’s priceless.
Try something unexpected today. Put the kids in bed and then run through the house shouting “emergency ice cream run!” Once the shock wears off, the smiles will be so big you will wonder how soon you can do something like this again!
Your turn===> Got any ideas for making laughter a blessed sound in your home? Share them with us!