What is the role of humor in children’s stories?

Sense of humor is not just something we are born with. The good news is that it can be encouraged and developed! If we understand that humor is a way of thinking and an attitude towards the world, we can say that a sense of humor can develop in different ways from early childhood.  Dr. Paul McGhee studying the developmental role of humor in children came to the conclusion that “the more you support children’s sense of humor at this early stage, the more likely they are to emerge into adolescence and adulthood with a well-developed set of humor skills.”  It simply means that reading humorous stories can help develop a child’s sense of humor. The emotional and social impact of humor may have a number of long-lasting benefits.

Humorous books develop critical thinking

Humorous stories are not intended solely to entertain the reader, but often contain sophisticated elements of satire, irony, and parody that make children think and use their imagination. What may at first seem like a simple, funny book may actually require the reader to think in a more complex and sophisticated way, considering the acts and emotions of characters in relation to their own experiences.

Humor encourages children to observe events beneath the surface because we know that often things are not as they seem. Children who learn to think critically through humor will not be subject to various forms of manipulation and various efforts to create a system of like-minded people. Children with a developed sense of humor will be able to look at things from another perspective and have original and new ideas.

A child’s ability to see things differently, in the light of humor, is a sign of distinct emotional intelligence. Over-seriousness is often an expression of the rigidity of spirit and character. A sense of humor is often associated with spontaneity. Spontaneity is a form of liberation from shame and fear that often prevents adults and children from openly and freely expressing their own attitudes and emotions.

Interactive humorous picture book

Humorous books help children dealing with problems

The first models for the development of humor in children are parent’s way of thinking. If parents tend to solve everyday problems in a calm and creative way, look for constructive solutions, and did not beat around the bush, if they try to answer children’s questions with a lot of imagination and humor, children will learn that there is always a solution and it will be less difficult to them to accept their own failures. They will be mentally more able to see the positive side of everything.

Children with a developed sense of humor are able to observe people, things, events from different perspectives compared to the usual, everyday ones. In this respect, humor contributes to the development of creativity and imagination because it enables the observation of the world in a special and new way. The ability to look at things from different angles is important because in solving problem situations, children will learn that there could be several ways to reach the goal.

The great side of humor is that serious topics can be described in a humorous way without the children being bored. Humorous books often deal with problems and challenges that children face in growing up, fears, anger, laziness, flaws, and all kind of obstacles.  Both adults and children experience family and social situations that frustrate and anger them. Humor is good for having a more positive view of the events in our lives. Humor contributes to better communication between adults and children, especially when it comes to some misunderstandings between generations.

Humorous books help children to relax

Children are not spared the stress they experience in a variety of family and social situations and humor can help them cope with different life challenges. Humor helps kids and adults to relax from various forms of tension that we feel in everyday life. Taking life and oneself too seriously is one of the main reasons for stress. Humor allows children to view the difficulties they encounter in childhood in a positive light. Any kind of monster shown funny is less scary, isn’t it?

Research has shown that children with a developed sense of humor are a favorite in society, less susceptible to stress, have a more pronounced sense of self-worth, and are more tolerant of other children. A humorous attitude helps children respond better to life changes because they find them less scary through humor. Research has shown that people who laugh are healthier, less prone to stress, depression and have better immunity.

Humor in children’s books makes them interesting for adults as well, which shows how humor blurs the boundaries between children’s literature and that of adults. Humor is that secret recipe that makes parents and kids laugh at the same stories, together making unforgettable memories.

While reading a humorous book the reader will experience positive emotions, joy, excitement, satisfaction and is likely to want to read it all over again. A relationship with a book could thus be compared to a relationship with a person, if you are comfortable in someone’s company, if you enjoy and laugh, the chances are higher that you will meet again. From this, it can be concluded that books that contain humor will encourage children to read, even one that was not really interested in books.