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Humor 101: How to Develop a Sense of Humor in Your Preschooler

how to develop a sense of humor
Laughter is a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries, brings people together, and creates moments of pure joy. It has the remarkable ability to brighten even the gloomiest of days, lifting spirits and fostering connections. As parents, we want our children to experience the incredible gift of laughter and develop a genuine sense of humor. But have you ever wondered why having a sense of humor is important for your child?

In this fast-paced and often stressful world, a sense of humor is not just a source of entertainment but a valuable life skill that can greatly benefit your child’s overall well-being. Developing a sense of humor in children goes beyond teaching them to tell jokes or appreciate funny situations. It involves nurturing their ability to find joy, appreciates the absurd, and use humor for emotional resilience and social interaction.

By understanding the significance of humor in your child’s life and implementing strategies to encourage its growth, you can help them navigate challenges, build strong relationships, and cultivate a positive outlook. Join us as we delve into childhood humor, exploring how it develops across different ages and uncovering effective methods to nurture and develop a sense of humor in your child. So, let’s embark on this laughter-filled journey together and unlock the many benefits of humor for your child’s bright and joyful future.

Why Is It Important For Your Child To Have A Sense Of Humor?
important for your child to have a sense of humor

A sense of humor is not just about being able to tell jokes and make others laugh. It is vital to your child’s overall development, contributing to their emotional well-being, social interactions, and cognitive growth. Let’s explore why your child needs to have a sense of humor:

  • Emotional well-being: Humor is a powerful coping mechanism for children, helping children navigate and manage emotions. Laughter releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, reducing stress, anxiety, and tension. It provides a healthy outlet for emotional expression and helps children develop resilience in the face of challenges.
  • Social interactions: A well-developed sense of humor enhances social connections and strengthens relationships. It allows children to engage with others, break the ice, and establish rapport. A child with a good sense of humor is often seen as approachable, friendly, and likable, making it easier for children to form friendships and build positive social connections.
  • Cognitive development: Humor involves complex cognitive processes, such as understanding wordplay, recognizing incongruities, and making connections. Children exercise their creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills by engaging with humor. It encourages them to view situations differently, fostering flexible thinking and mental agility.
  • Higher self-esteem: Developing a sense of humor can boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence. When children are able to make others laugh or find humor in situations, it provides them with a sense of accomplishment and validation. It helps them develop a positive self-image and belief in their abilities to navigate social interactions and handle challenges with a lighthearted approach.

How Does the Sense of Humor Develop Across Different Ages?
how does the sense of humor develop

Little ones of different ages see the humor in different lights. As they grow and develop, their understanding and appreciation of humor evolve. Let’s look at how the sense of humor develops across different ages.

1. Babies

In the early stages of development, babies are drawn to simple and physical humor. They giggle and respond to funny faces, playful sounds, and tickles. Peek-a-boo games and surprise elements often elicit laughter from them. Babies find delight in the unexpected and the silly as they begin to explore the world around them.

2. Toddlers

As toddlers become more aware of their surroundings, their sense of humor expands. They enjoy slapstick humor, such as exaggerated movements and falls, which they find hilarious. They may also find repetition amusing, finding joy in familiar jokes or silly sounds. At this age, imaginative play and pretend scenarios often lead to laughter as they discover the joy of creating funny situations.

3. Preschoolers

Preschoolers start to grasp verbal humor and wordplay. They appreciate simple jokes, puns, and riddles that involve wordplay or unexpected twists. Their sense of humor becomes more sophisticated as they understand and engage in pretend play, finding humor in pretending to be someone or something else. Preschoolers also enjoy silly songs, funny stories, and humorous characters, which tickle their imaginations and foster their developing sense of humor.

Tips to Develop a Sense of Humor in Your Preschooler

Unlocking the power of laughter in your preschooler can be a joyful and transformative journey. By nurturing their sense of humor, you’ll not only brighten their days but also equip them with valuable social and emotional skills. Discover practical tips and playful techniques to develop a sense of humor that will delight your little one.

1. Creating a Positive Environment
creating a positive environment

In order to foster the development of a sense of humor in your preschooler, it’s essential to create a positive environment that encourages laughter and playfulness. By infusing humor into their daily lives, you’ll nurture their ability to find joy in the world around them. Here are some effective strategies to establish a lighthearted atmosphere:

  • Firstly, embrace laughter and playfulness as a family. Engage in silly antics, tell jokes, and engage in light-hearted banter. Encourage laughter during meals, playtime, or family outings. For example, you can have a “funny face contest” during dinner, where everyone takes turns making their silliest expressions. This not only brings laughter but also strengthens the bond between family members.
  • Secondly, incorporate humor into daily routines. Infuse laughter into activities like getting dressed, brushing your teeth, or tidying up. For instance, turn mundane tasks into games by pretending to be funny characters or introducing amusing challenges. Let your preschooler pick out their wackiest outfit combination or encourage them to brush their teeth while making exaggerated funny sounds. These playful moments will positively associate with everyday tasks and foster a sense of humor.

2. Sharing Funny Books and Stories

Introducing your preschooler to funny books and stories is an excellent way to develop their sense of humor while fostering a love for reading. Immersing them in comedic narratives will ignite their imagination and encourage laughter. Here’s how you can make the most of sharing funny books and stories:

  • Choose age-appropriate humorous books that align with your preschooler’s interests. Look for stories with amusing characters, silly situations, and playful language. For example, books like “The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!” by Mo Willems or “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae are filled with humor and engaging illustrations that will captivate young minds.
  • Also, when reading aloud with kids, bring the stories to life with enthusiasm and comedic flair. Use funny voices, expressive gestures, and animated facial expressions to enhance the humor. Encourage your preschooler to join the fun by predicting punchlines or acting out funny moments. This interactive reading experience will not only entertain them but also help develop their comprehension and language skills.

3. Exposing Children to Age-Appropriate Humor
how to develop a sense of humor

Humor is a wonderful aspect of life that can bring joy and laughter to people of all ages, including young children. Exposing your child to age-appropriate humor can help develop their sense of humor and enhance their overall social and emotional development. Here are some tips on how to introduce humor to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in a way that will tickle their funny bones.


Babies Engage in playful interactions with your baby, like making funny faces or playing peek-a-boo. Use exaggerated gestures or introduce silly sounds to elicit laughter. For example, during peek-a-boo, say, “Oh no, where did Mommy go? Peek-a-boo, I found you!” Your baby will delight in your animated expressions and silly antics.


Toddlers Incorporate humor into your toddler’s daily activities with simple jokes or funny rhymes. Playfully pretend to eat their nose during mealtime, saying, “Nom, nom, nom, look at that yummy little nose!” or create a silly rhyme like, “Round and round the garden, like a little monkey. One step, two steps, and a funny honky!” These moments will make your toddler giggle while fostering their language development and creativity.


Preschoolers have a growing sense of humor and a better understanding of jokes and puns. Introduce them to age-appropriate jokes and riddles that they can understand and find amusing. You can share simple knock-knock jokes like, “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Banana.” “Banana, who?” “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Banana.” “Banana, who?” “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Orange.” “Orange, who?” “Orange, you glad I didn’t say banana again?” This repetitive and playful style of humor will engage your preschooler’s cognitive skills and provide endless giggles.

4. Encouraging Imaginative Thinking
how to develop a sense of humor

Encouraging imaginative thinking can be nurtured by nurturing your preschooler’s sense of humor. By fostering creativity and allowing their imagination to flourish, you create a fertile ground for their unique brand of humor. Here are effective strategies:

Promote creative play and make-believe scenarios. Provide open-ended toys and props for your child to transform into various objects or characters. Encourage them to create funny scenarios and act out humorous stories using their imagination. For instance, they can pretend to be a wacky chef serving silly food combinations or an imaginative explorer on a quest for laughter.

Encourage your child to create and share their jokes. Offer opportunities for them to come up with funny punchlines or riddles. Embrace their creativity and enjoy their witty or silly jokes, boosting their confidence and fostering their ability to think outside the box, finding humor in unexpected places.

5. Fostering Social Connections through Humor

Humor is a powerful tool for building strong relationships and fostering social connections. Teach your preschoolers to understand and respond to humor, helping them confidently navigate social interactions. Here’s how:

Expose your child to different types of jokes and comedic situations, discussing funny moments and explaining what makes them humorous. Encourage them to appreciate different styles of comedy.

Promote laughter and camaraderie with peers and family members. Encourage your child to share funny stories, jokes, or experiences, and create opportunities for group activities that incorporate humor, like game nights or joke-telling sessions. These shared moments of laughter will strengthen the social bonds between your child and their friends or family.

6. Being a Positive Role Model
being a positive role model

As a parent or caregiver, you have the incredible opportunity to be a positive role model for your preschooler when it comes to developing a sense of humor. Your actions and attitudes can significantly impact how they perceive and engage with humor. Here are some ways you can be a positive role model:

  • Demonstrate a playful and lighthearted attitude. Show your child that having fun is okay and not taking everything too seriously. Engage in playful activities together, crack jokes, and laugh freely. Your child will observe and learn from your ability to find humor in various situations.
  • Model kindness and empathy through humor. Use humor as a way to uplift others and create a positive environment. Avoid using humor that may hurt or ridicule others. Teach your child the importance of laughing with others, not at them, and how humor can build connections and spread joy.
  • Embrace laughter and laughter-inducing activities as a family. Engage in activities that elicit laughter, such as watching funny movies or playing silly games. Make it a habit to share funny stories or jokes during family gatherings. Making laughter a regular part of your family dynamic creates an atmosphere where humor is celebrated and cherished.

Where to Draw the Line?
where to draw the line

When developing a sense of humor in your preschooler, it’s important to know where to draw the line. While humor can be a wonderful tool for bonding and amusement, it’s crucial to set boundaries and ensure that humor remains respectful and appropriate. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Firstly, be mindful of age-appropriate content. While it’s natural to want to expose your child to various forms of humor, selecting material that aligns with their developmental stage is essential. Avoid jokes, movies, or shows that contain content that is too mature or inappropriate for their age.

Secondly, teach your child about empathy and kindness. Help them understand that humor should never come at the expense of others’ feelings or well-being. Encourage them to be mindful of their words and actions and to always consider the impact of their humor on others.

Final Thoughts

Developing a sense of humor in your preschooler is a valuable endeavor that brings numerous benefits. A well-developed sense of humor enhances their social interactions, fosters creativity, and promotes resilience in navigating life’s challenges. Creating a positive environment, sharing funny books and stories, exposing children to age-appropriate humor, encouraging imaginative thinking, fostering social connections, and being a positive role model provides the foundations for their sense of humor to flourish.

Baby Steps understands the importance of nurturing a sense of humor in children. That’s why we strive to create a joyful, laughter-filled environment where children can explore and develop their unique sense of humor. Through our experienced caregivers, engaging activities, and a curriculum designed to promote laughter and playfulness, we aim to support parents in their mission to cultivate their child’s sense of humor.