How laughter helps learning!
Which came first, laughter or play?
If scientists are to be believed, laughter has its origins in play. When we play we are actually preparing for the unexpected. We give up control and even dominance so we can learn from the experience. Brian Boyd from the University of Auckland says "Play evolved as training for the unexpected, in creatures putting themselves at risk of losing balance or dominance so that they learn to recover".. and laughter he says, "the best evidence suggests, derives from the ritualized breathing and open-mouth display common in animal play."
No matter where laughter evolved from, it is extremely pleasurable and works as a social lubricant. It also helps us get over embarrassing situations and generally makes for good memories.
When we laugh we relax and so there is less stress. We are able to retain everything better when we are not anxious. A child who is not anxious is more receptive to new ideas, thoughts and concepts than one who is anxious. Laughter has been shown to stimulate a physiological effect that decreases stress hormones such as serum cortisol, dopac and epinephrine opine psychologists.
We let down our guard when we laugh and open up to possibilities. Laughter is a signal to our brain that all is well and so we open up to other possibilities in the environment around us.
Kids mostly have limited attention spans. Laughter also keeps children engaged for longer. If they find something funny and makes them laugh, it holds their attention for longer as they look forward to whatever it is that makes them laugh.
Playing the fool with kids is an ideal way to engage with them and gradually pass on the values that you wish to inculcate.
So rough house with kids, play with them. If you fall and get up and continue laughing as you do so, they learn that it is ok to fall and learn to recover. If you build a tower or something with them that falls and you laugh as you rebuild it, they learn that failure is not a deterrent and we should not stop if we fail. Laughing at a mistake helps them learn a valuable lesson that lasts a lifetime. Let them know that you have to lighten up and not take yourself too seriously.
Laugh, love and continue to learn and you will have more resilient kids who will grow up to be strong adults.
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