Ask any parent, grandparent, or second cousin once removed what they want for their kids. The collective answer: "I want my kids to be healthy and happy."
There's no one fool-proof manual or golden rule to raising kids to be healthy and happy. And they don't come with instructions (wouldn't that be nice). But there are a few things you can do that certainly makes a difference in the right direction.
As we all know, being ‘healthy’ and ‘happy’ go hand in hand. When you’re positive and loving life, you’re bound to look after yourself better than when you’re down in the dumps. And it’s been proven that depression can have negative impacts on your health and wellbeing.
The positive flip side of this: when kids are surrounded by healthy, happy people, particularly their parents, they’re more likely to be happy and positive themselves. We know laughter, smiles, motivation and happiness are all contagious – positive vibes can fill a room, spreading to all those around them. And this is where laughter comes in.
From physical health to mental health, there’s reasons behind the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’…. Science has proven that laughter is good for you, and your family, in many ways.
Most importantly, laughing increases the release of endorphins, those amazing feel-good hormones.
And the experts say laughter not only improves your mental health, but also positively affects your overall health and can have long-terms effects. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research says laughter may improve your immune system, relieve pain, increase your ability to connect with other people and (most importantly) lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.
The Mayo Clinic also says laughter actually causes physical changes in your body; stimulating your heart, muscles and lungs, aiding muscle relaxation, increasing your intake of air, and ‘firing up’ then ‘cooling down’ your stress response, making you actually feel more relaxed as a result.
We all know from experience it feels so good to share fits of laughter with your kids, letting their infectious humour and giggles spread. And of course, there’s been many a tense situation that has been broken by an outburst of laughter (oops).
So it’s time to get yourself, and your family, laughing more together! How do you do that? We've got you covered!
At first, it sounds hard to actually plan laughter into your day. But it’s not as hard as you think. Planning family activities that get you giggling is a sure-fire way to add to laughter into your day!
We know laughter is contagious – it’s pretty hard as a parent not to giggle when the kids are cracking up. And let’s not forget those moments when it’s not socially appropriate to laugh, but you take one glance at a friend’s knowing look and the next minute you’re rolling on the floor in hysterics.
So anything that usually results in laughter for you or the kids, is a great place to start.
Family games and activities that involve a bit of craziness are likely to tickle your funny bone. Like nerf or water fights, active games or silly challenges. You’re really only limited by your imagination. Charades, Pictionary, celebrity heads, and family performances (like putting on a play or holding a family talent quest) are also usually guaranteed for a bit of silliness and laughter!
Then there’s the cinemas. Once a month, or once every quarter, you can take your family to the movies to watch a new release comedy. The great thing about so many ‘kids movies’ is the hidden ‘grown up’ humour that so many cartoons sneak in. Sit back, relax and enjoy the good feels.
And of course, in the current day and age, we have entertainment on demand. If you’re a subscriber to a paid TV on demand service, you can literally choose to bring up a comedy movie or TV series and watch it at a time convenient. In small doses, this can be a great way for the whole family to gather and laugh together.
So get out there and look to the fun side of life!
Read more fun family activities you can enjoy together on the Springfree Trampoline blog.
Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), ‘Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke’. ‘Mayo Clinic Staff’. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), ‘Healthy Lifestyle, Stress Management’. ‘Mayo Clinic Staff’ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456?pg=2