Make time for a laugh with the little ones

Laughter is the best medicine
Laughter is the best medicine
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In celebration of Scotland’s Big Laugh (Saturday 24th January), an entire day dedicated to laughter, PlayTalkRead is encouraging parents and carers to enjoy a laugh with their little one.

Laughter really is the best medicine - it’s been proved to prevent illness and boost energy levels, but it also helps build a closer bond between a parent and child

The Scottish Government’s PlayTalkRead campaign highlights easy, fun ways to give little ones the best start in life through simple, free activities. You don’t need lots of toys or extra equipment – singing songs, playing peek-a-boo or pulling funny faces are all it takes.

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, co-founder of Scotland’s Big Laugh and director of Connected Baby, commented: “For children, laughter creates trust in the people who laugh with them. It boosts the immune system. It relaxes you so you can learn better. It reduces fear and anxiety. In short, laughter makes life better.

“Encouraging laughter is all about engaging little ones in a comforting way – being close and connecting over something, be it playing, talking or reading. Ultimately, laughter is about sharing. Human brains were meant to share. Little ones’ brains share whatever emotional states are offered to them by the adults around them.”

Learning what makes your little one laugh can be useful when they’ve become frustrated, which means fewer tantrums, tears and stress. Laughter is also proven to prevent illness, boost energy levels and helps build a closer bond between you and your child.

Finding the time to have a giggle with the wee one can be difficult though, can’t it? Not according to Sarah Wheatley, a registered BACP counsellor and founder of Birth & Beyond: “Parents often think that they need to set aside time to do special ‘activities’ with their children, but often they can be woven into the fabric of whatever you are already doing.

“Parents can chat to their babies whilst hanging up washing. A walk in the buggy is an opportunity to point out things that your child might like to look at, sing nursery rhymes or even play a counting game.

“Many parents talk about how they sing to their babies whilst in the shower, allowing the parent to get on with what they need to do, and also interacting with their child.”

PlayTalkRead has lots of ideas to help make your little one(s) laugh, visit www.playtalkread.org to download the ‘30 things to laugh at before you’re three’ list.