laugh more

10 Ways to Make Your Family Laugh More

My dad made us laugh all 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—and he fully committed. He wore a 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. He had people rolling. Another time, a friend invited my dad to a pool party and told him to “be sure to wear your suit.” Naturally, my dad showed up in a three-piece business suit, walked up to the pool, and jumped in.

The majority of the best family memories revolve around something that was really funny.

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 Stories

Your kids absolutely love to hear funny stories from your own childhood. Self-deprecating humor is always a winner. Just don’t go too far with it and ruin their opinion of you. Sharing your past helps them bond with 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. Same thing applies to animals. You would be amazed how many silly conversations you can pretend they are having. Keep it light though—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. Your Own Lyrics

Chances are you are listening to your kids’ favorite 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 of anybody or anything—one of their favorite television characters, a famous singer, or your kids’ grandpa. Even if you stink at your impression, 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

A timeless classic: the whoopee cushion. It’s funny 99% of the time. The whole joke depends on the timing. There’s quiet hush in the room. One of your sons is in serious mode, ready to sit down and study. Boom. Now that’s funny. Pranks require catching the victim off guard. It also requires good enough sense not to be mean or destructive.

8. Crazy Props

Funny coats. Wild hats. Fake teeth. Props rule when it’s unexpected. Maybe you are shopping with your daughters. Grab one of those big sun hats that always seem to be around women’s clothing stores, put it on, 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. Or make fun of your own prominent personality traits! Maybe you’re a clean freak or 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 broke 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.

Sound off: What do you do to make your family laugh?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What makes you laugh the most and why?”