My dad made us laugh all of the time.
One of his favorite things to do to make us laugh was to dress up. On New Year's Eve one year, he dressed up as Baby New Year. He fully committed, I mean, diaper, sash and top hat.
That's all he was wearing and we lived up north where it was cold. He had no problem going out into the neighborhood like that to get a laugh and he had people rolling. On another occasion, a friend invited him to come to a pool party and told my dad, "Be sure to wear your suit." Naturally my dad showed up in a three-piece business suit, walked right to the pool and jumped in.
The majority of the best family memories revolve around something that was really funny. To possess a sense of humor is not only a happier way to exist, but it also provides tremendous health benefits. Laughing greatly reduces stress and builds upon our connections and relationships. Here are 10 ways for your family to laugh more.
1. Old tales. Your kids absolutely love to hear funny stories from your own childhood. Self-deprecating humor is always a sure-fire winner. Just don't go too far with it and ruin their opinion of you. Sharing your past helps them bond and feel closer to you.
2. Creative bedtime stories. We all read bedtime stories to our kids. But do you make it funny? The laughter of your daughter or son is the most beautiful sound in the world. Add funny voices to the characters. Make hand motions. If you are the creative type, make up your own stories. Kids love to be included in the storyline.
3. Observing life. People-watching and making up funny stories as you go is great fun. The same applies for animals. You would be amazed how many silly conversations you can "pretend" they are having. Keep it light, though. You don't want to teach them to be mean.
4. Unexpected moments. In his book Uncommon, Coach Dungy talks of the importance of being silly with your family. He gives the example of accidentally falling in the pool. Your kids love seeing you fall or pretending to be hurt. Maybe you accidentally trip and bounce off the couch, then the coffee table and land flat on your backside. Can't miss.
5. Make up your own lyrics. Chances are you are listening to their music anyway. It's probably annoying. Make it fun for yourself and funny for them by changing the words more to your liking. Sing it loud and proud.
6. Impersonations. It could be anybody or anything. Maybe one of their favorite television characters. Maybe a famous singer. The king of England. Who knows? Even if you stink at it, it will probably still be funny. The laughter might come from how bad you are at it, but it's still humor.
7. Silly pranks. The timeless classic—the whoopee cushion. Funny 99 percent of the time. The whole joke depends on the timing. A quiet hush in the room. Mom in serious mode ready to sit down and read. Boom. Now that's funny. Pranks require catching the victim off guard. It also requires good sense enough to not be mean or destructive.
8. Crazy props. Funny coats. Wild hats. Fake buckteeth. Props rule when it's unexpected. Maybe you are shopping with your wife and you and the kids are bored in the women's section. Grab one of those big sun hats that always seem to be around and sneak up behind your kids. It will be funny. If you keep a straight face like it's normal that's even better. The key to humor is always timing.
9. The careful insult. Insulting humor can be very funny when done properly. However, you certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Make light of certain prominent personality traits of your family members. Including your own. Maybe your wife is a clean freak. Your son a big jock. Over-hype the trait. Just always be careful to do it with love in your heart.
10. Real life situations. Everybody has bad moments. Maybe you just tapped into the back of the car in front of you. Maybe your bag of groceries, the one with the carton of eggs, just busted open two feet from your front door. Generally you might be inclined to say some choice words. Instead, make it funny. Lighten the tension. Making fun of yourself at these moments can turn a possible bad memory into a lifelong great one.
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