Teaching Your Kids to Laugh

If we don’t create room for our kids to laugh, they won’t learn to laugh.

Group Photo

Laugh with your kids. I don’t know about you, but if I’m not intentional about it, my time spent with the kids can look more like nagging and telling them no, instead of laughing and celebrating the yes.

We went through a period early in our parenting journey that wasn’t much fun. Our newborn baby screamed more than she slept, and Josh’s dad went through three major heart surgeries. With two kids ages two and under and driving twenty-one hours to be with Josh’s dad, we were barely functioning and rarely laughing. 

So we did what anyone would do: We bought a picture of a cow. Learning about the importance of laughing for the first seven seconds of the day,6 we hung this hilarious picture of a cow in our bedroom where we would see it and laugh upon waking. 

Psalm 126 talks about laughter. After the Lord restored Zion, the psalmist says: 

Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD had done great things for us; we were joyful.

Psalm 126:2-3

Why were the people laughing in this passage?  How does our laughter display the glory of the Lord?

Laugh with your kids. I don’t know about you, but if I’m not intentional about it, my time spent with the kids can look more like nagging and telling them no, instead of laughing and celebrating the yes. If your kids ask you to do something, instead of immediately saying, “No,” ask yourself, “Why not?” If you can’t come up with a legitimate reason, let the memory unfold. 

Put down what you’re doing. The dishes will be there later. You can clean up the house with your spouse after the kids are in bed. Stop what you’re doing and enter your kids’ world of laughter. Tell jokes. Have a dance party. Get into a pillow fight. Draw funny pictures. See who can make the funniest sound, the craziest dance move, or imitate a television character, like Donald Duck®. 

Practice turning your home into a laugh factory, to borrow a phrase from “Monsters, Inc.”, If we don’t create room for our kids to laugh, they won’t learn to laugh.

Excerpted from Homegrown by Josh & Christi Straub. Published by LifeWay Press®. © 2019. Used by permission.

Josh Straub, Ph.D., cherishes his role as husband and dad. He is a marriage and family coach and consultant with The Straub Co., and professor of child psychology/crisis response. Josh is the author of Safe House: How Emotional Safety Is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well and coauthor, along with his wife Christi, of their first children’s book called, What Am I Feeling? (B&H Kids, 2019). He and Christi also host the "In This Together" podcast, and in partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, are the creators of 22:6 Parenting, a community of parents growing together to encourage the spiritual growth of their kids.

Christi Straub, M.A., M.B.A., is a native Canadian, wife to an American, and momma to two feisty kiddos. She is a marriage and family coach and leads The Straub Co., an organization where she and her husband, Josh, coach families to live, love, and lead well. Her honesty, wittiness, and transparency are contagious. She is a co-host of the "In This Together" podcast and is a coauthor of the children’s book, What Am I Feeling? (B&H Kids, 2019). When she and Josh aren’t working together, they spend time on the lake, train their disobedient puppy, and watch their kids crush karaoke on a stage built in their dining room.

Learn More about "Homegrown" by Josh & Christi Straub

As parents, we want to raise children who know God, love Him, and share His love with the world. But how do you prepare a spiritual seedling to become fully grown?

In Homegrown, a six-session study, daily devotional guide, and family activity plan from Dr. Josh and Christi Straub, you’ll discover the fruit of the Spirit in the context of your parenting, learn how to cultivate growth in your children, and explore practical ways to live out the fruit of the Spirit together.