Do we need to learn how to joke

Pasha goes to first grade. I always come to the school yard to pick him up after school, since we live far away.

Today I arrived a little later than usual, but my son was not there yet. I thought that the teacher had delayed them, and I stood at the threshold to the entrance of the school.

Suddenly, the door opened, and Pasha’s classmate, Varya, ran out in tears. After her, the boys came out, they shouted to her: “Sorry, we just wanted to joke! Come on, do not be aggrieved.” Pasha was with them. He looked at me with a guilty look, and we went home.

On the way, my son told me that their main bully Vadim had brought with him a special device for the chair. When you sit on it, you get a sound that is very ugly. So this is exactly what the boys put on Varya’s chair before the last lesson. When the girl sat down, the whole class laughed out loud.  Laughter was heard until the end of the lesson, and Varya sat red and barely holding back tears of  embarrassment.

ー Mom, we really just wanted to joke…

ー Yes, I understand everything, only jokes are sometimes very offensive.

That’s when I thought: is it possible to teach a child to joke? Is there true understanding? So that it could not be offensive, but really fun. I even remembered research about children with a sense of humor – they grow up more optimistic and happy than their serious peers.

Armed with a cup of tea and chocolate, I went online. And here’s what I found out.

Most kids who make hurtful jokes don’t try to be mean on purpose. There is usually a good reason for such actions, and parents should think about it.

Remember how you communicate with your child? Do you tease him or each other in the family? Do you discuss acquaintances or strangers, children from kindergarten/school and their parents in the presence of a child? In such cases, children are especially attentive, even if it seems to you that they do not hear anything at all. But then they will definitely repeat after you.

Check what TV programs your child is watching. When parents begin to monitor children’s content a little, they discover many unexpected things.  Television, the Internet, and computer games often become sources of crude humor and sarcasm. From them, “imitation” comes much easier than from neighborhood friends.

Explain why teasing others is harmful. Ask the children to put themselves in the place of the person they are teasing — how would they feel if someone said these words to them? Talk about how everyone is different. We are different from each other. If the other is not like us in some way, this is not a reason for jokes or bullying.

Develop your child’s thinking. Children aged 3-6 laugh if they see any inconsistency. For example, if you say that a pig barks and a kitten grunts, then the child may laugh at this. Preschoolers are amused by everything that does not correspond to their prevailing ideas about the correct and logical. But for this, the child must clearly know how everything really works. Therefore, develop thinking, reading comprehension, and learn something new every day.

Develop imagination and ingenuity, the ability to think quickly and find the most diverse, incredible connections and associations between objects and phenomena. Here are a couple of exercises for that:

  • come up with funny rhymes for words.
  • act out interesting stories with toys.
  • mold funny animals from plasticine or play-dough.
  • play Crocodile or Farm.

And most importantly, treat children’s humor with understanding. Watch yourself – do not laugh at your child, his appearance and awkward movements. After all, our children always look at us and copy our behavior.

A child can get a good practice of joking speech in Saturday school.

How to choose a Russian school? Read here.

View the schedule and cost of the school

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