Adding Humor to Your Family

by Dr. Joseph Michelli

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For children, play is equivalent to work. Children don't feel it's work but play is their work. When we observe children playing, they seem to be involved but with no distinct purpose. It becomes clear that play lures children into learning. They are drawn to activities that pleasure them and help them to master essential skills.

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Respond to negative emotions with creativity. There are many choices for dealing with negative emotions. For example, when your child has a temper tantrum in a public place, you can choose a number of different ways to respond. One is to get angry and yell; another is to tell people in the grocery store that he's studying to be an opera singer. Which one do you suppose would relax you more?

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All children are gifted – each in his or her own way. Humor is a tool that can enhance children's intellectual development and expand their overall flexibility in dealing with problems that come before them. If only it could help them clean their rooms.

Toddlers laugh around 400 times per day.

This number dwindlesto 16 laughs per day as adult life takes over.

Create limits in a positive way – sharing more humor is one way. Our children must learn there is a limit to the amount of sun to which the human body can be exposed. There is a limit to the amount of cotton candy a person can consume at one sitting. And there are limits to children's behavior in the social world.

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The low cost and high contact of play. Look at your present schedule. Where can you make more play or interactive time available with your children? How can you develop a ritual around this time? What will you do to make sure that other time pressures don't encroach?

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The child years pass quickly. The sooner you establish your relationship with your children, the more likely long-term benefits will be achieved for all of you. No one goes to his grave complaining that he did not work enough.

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Effective parents play without the worry about maintaining their adult image. They color, play hide-and-seek, and experience the world of make-believe.

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One of the greatest gifts our children offer us is their delight in the simple things in life. Playtime isn't the place for lessons – let the kids lead.

Copyright 2005 by Dr. Joseph Mitchelli. Reprinted with permission. Joseph is a professional (and funny) motivational speaker based in Colorado. You can reach Joseph at www.HumorProfits.com