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By Cindy Williams

Meadowlark District Extension Agent

Having fun and seeing the humor in life are vitally important for healthy living. As parents it is just as important to teach your children to experience joy and humor in life as it is to teach them to cope with problems. Here are some ideas to teach this important life skill:

1. Make ordinary things fun. One great thing about fun is that it doesn't have to cost anything, and it doesn't have to take extra time. In fact, routine tasks will go more quickly if they are turned into games or friendly competition. Look for opportunities every day to have fun or to see humor in the ordinary things that happen.

2. Teach your children the magic of anticipation. Kids learn from parents how to look forward to things. It's important to talk with your children about upcoming happy events--to show them how to anticipate good times. It doesn't have to be a major event, like a trip to Disney World or a holiday with lots of presents. Anticipate the simple things, like what you are doing next weekend, or eating a special meal with the family.

3. Help your children be realistic about what's going to happen. Kids have great imaginations, but sometimes they expect more than what will actually happen. You don't want to be a spoiler, but you also don't want your child to be disappointed when imagination and reality don't match up.

4. Take time to savor the moment. Children tend to be absorbed in the experience, while adults may be too concerned about keeping on a schedule or running to the next event. It's OK to let your child simply experience the wonderment of something, like catching fireflies or smelling the roses or watching a sunset.

5. Take plenty of strolls down memory lane. It's okay to reminisce about old times, to savor things that happened in the past and keep them alive in your child's memory. Looking at pictures and souvenirs are very good ways to bring back great memories.

6. Encourage your children's playful side. You can show your kids how to be light, how to take pleasure from life, how to be pleased with themselves. When you laugh at a child's jokes--even the early, silly ones like putting his shoes on his ears--you're helping him develop what the world will later call his marvelous sense of humor.

Date: 9/3/2012



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