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The Power and Value of Telling Jokes—A Parent’s Guide

Are you looking for some fun jokes to share with your children? Do you want to know why encouraging humor (even if it’s through a few bad puns) is good for the development of your child? If this is the case, you’ve found the right place.

The Power and Value of Telling Jokes—A Parent’s Guide

Read on and discover why you should be urging your children to spout ridiculous jokes and how you can teach them the power of exploiting puns.

On the way, you’ll even learn a few funny things yourself!

Encouraging and Developing Your Child’s Humor

It is commonly thought that a sense of humor is something you’re just born with. You either have a talent or knack for joke-telling, or you don’t. This isn’t the whole story. While it’s true that some people have the “gift of humor”—like how others have a natural talent in drawing, dancing, or sports—learning to tell a good joke is also a skill. And most kids need a little prompting to help them discover and develop their unique point of view on “funny.”

Developmentally, most children learn all their social skills through trial and error with their family members. Humor is another part of this phase in your child’s life, and experimentation is vital to help them understand what they and other people think is funny.

Encouraging your children to develop a sense of humor when they’re young also has remarkable benefits on their mental health. People with a developed sense of humor tend to handle stress better. They also are more adaptable to flexible thinking and creative problem-solving.

It’s also shown that people with a good sense of humor are better at relating to others and they’re better at understanding different perspectives on the same situation.

What Are Some Other Benefits of Joke-Telling?

While developing a sense of humor can be a nice thing to encourage your child to do, it also comes with a list of remarkable benefits. Here are just a few ways that a sense of humor can help your child:

Honing Language and Inspiring Learning. Yes, puns can sometimes be a little cringe-inducing. However, puns can help your child better understand the correlations between words which helps them construct better sentences.

This can help them when they speak, as they may take more time to consider each word they say. Make it a challenge and have them come up with the most ridiculous puns they can imagine. What your child learns to do verbally can also help them write better.

Puns and jokes can help your child understand the meanings of words better. Puns also offer you an opportunity to explain concepts to your child that they may not immediately understand.

Not to mention, studies show that funny information is easier to remember. So, phrasing a fact your child is having difficulty remembering as a joke can help increase their retention.

Getting Kids Excited about Reading. There are a great many children who drag their feet with reading. It just may not excite them as you want it to, but things like joke books or websites can help encourage a child to read. This is an especially good trick if you’re trying to get your child to read aloud.

Jokes are meant to be shared after all, and hearing you groan or laugh can be a great incentive for the child to start reading more.

Once the positive emotion and reading connection has been established, you may find that your child is more excited to start reading other stories as well.

Family Bonding. Sharing jokes around the dinner table can be a wonderful way for everyone to catch up with one another at the end of the day. While you’re waiting at a restaurant can also be a good time to whip out some silly jokes. They can help keep your family busy while also having some nice bonding time while you’re all just sitting around and waiting.

Families that can laugh and share in the joys of silliness are better equipped to handle stressful situations together.

Humor also encourages higher self-esteem and, according to some studies, humor combats and prevents mood disorders. Laughter helps lighten any mood by releasing happy chemicals in our brains. So, using humor at the right time can help alleviate a child’s grumpiness or anxiety.

Increasing Social Skills. A child with a more developed sense of humor is often more aware of their social environment.

Plus, funny people tend to be likable, and a good pun can help break the ice in a classroom or at recess, helping them make more friends at school.

By helping your child develop key social skills at home, you can help them overcome some natural difficulties they may have with socializing.

Picking Jokes that Fit Your Child’s Age

Humor develops more as your child ages, like taste buds. What an infant may giggle at is not the same as what a teenager would laugh at and vice versa.

At different ages, children are more likely to be interested in different kinds of humor, so, be open with your child. Discuss and share what you like and what they like to discover their personal tastes and style. Each child is different, and while one may love puns and silly jokes, the other may be obsessed with slapstick.

In each age group, there are a few elements of humor that are pretty common. You can use these universally funny things to reach your child’s funny bone.

With Babies

Infants and babies are not really equipped to be telling jokes, and they won’t understand a good one-liner or a pun. However, a baby does know when you’re happy.

Smiling and giggling at a baby can be enough to get them laughing too. Tickling and raspberries are also often enough to get your baby laughing.

Once they’re around 12-months or a little younger, the baby will begin to understand when they see something completely ridiculous.

At this point, when they see the family dog awkwardly walking around in socks, they may start to laugh at these absurd situations as well.

Humor and Toddlers

Once your child hits the toddler phase, their sense of humor will continue to develop. Now is the time where physical comedy is likely to be its funniest, along with things that surprise them like a game of peek-a-boo.

As your child begins developing social and language skills, they’ll start to find more absurd things funny as they begin to better understand the world around them. This will likely include many nonsense words, gibberish, and quick rhymes that are fun to say.

In this phase, they may also try and get you to laugh by pulling silly faces, deliberately doing something wrong and giggling about it, or by saying something totally unexpected.


As your child grows and becomes more familiar with the world, they’ll start to understand the funny absurdity of pictures and events that don’t match reality.

Things like a cow barking or a picture with a purple cat riding a broomstick may cause the child to laugh hysterically.

This is also the time where children start to understand and utilize bathroom humor, likely doubling down on it if it makes you uncomfortable to hear about or if you shush them.

This is an excellent time to teach them about appropriate humor. Like when and how they should use humor in a social situation.

School-Aged Children

Now that your child is ready for school and is learning how to interact with peers, they’ll be learning essential skills like reading and basic math. They may also be interested in basic wordplay and simple puns.

Also, slapstick and exaggeration will likely be very funny to them. They’ll probably start purposefully learning and sharing jokes with you if you’ve encouraged them to. While doing so, they’ll also learn the joy of getting a real laugh out of you from time to time. However, at this stage, children are often prone to repeating the same jokes over and over again.

When your child reaches higher grades, they’ll start enjoying wordplay more. They’ll likely start making fun of anything that doesn’t fit their conception of “normal.” But be sure that this is only fun jabbing rather than a tactic that develops into bullying behavior.

Around this stage, the child may begin to understand and utilize subtle humor like sarcasm. They may start using their wit to say unexpected and hilarious things.

Using these tactics in school and social situations can help them deal with stress and communicate their feelings better.

And Beyond

After this, the best part is discovering how you can continue laughing and bonding with your family as you all grow together. As your children age into adulthood, their sense of humor will continue to refine, as will yours. In time, you can discover more complex jokes and share your favorite comedians.

30 Jokes to Share with Your Child

Q: What did the porcupine say when he backed into a cactus?
A: Pardon me honey!

Q: What should you do to make friends with a squirrel?
Quick! Start acting like a nut!

Q: What do say to two birds who are in love?
Ah. What nice tweethearts!

Q: How did the scientist freshen their breath?
With a few experi-mints!

Q: What are the similarities between false teeth and the stars?
A: They’re only seen at night!

Q: What’s the easiest way to know if a vampire has a cold?
A: Listen for the coffin.

Q: What could be worse than a worm in your apple?
Only finding half a worm.

Q: What do computers eat for a snack?
A fresh bag of computer chips!!

Q: Can you think of a word that starts with t, ends with t, and usually has a t in it?
A: A teapot!

Q: Why did the kids cross the playground?
To swing and get on the other slide.

Parent: Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Parent: Ice-y.
Ice-y who?
Parent: Ice-y you trying not to laugh!

Q: Is there a kind of lion that doesn’t roar?
A: A dandy-lion. He’s a gentleman.

Q: What do you do to keep an astronaut’s baby from crying?
A: Take that little baby and rocket!

Q: Why was 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7, 8, 9

Q: What would a cloud wear under his raincoat?
He makes sure to wear his thunderwear.

Q: How do merpeople get a job?
A: They always look for kelp-wanted signs.

Q: What should you call a hamburger in space?

Q: What did the limestone say to the geologist?
Don’t take me for granite!

Q: What do you call a duck that gets all A’s?
A wise quacker.

Q: Why do the seagulls fly over the sea?
A: If they only flew over the bay, they’d all be bagels.

Q: How do you know what’s faster? The hot or cold?
Hot is faster, it’s easy to catch a cold. 

Q: What has many leaves but never grows?
Your notebook!

Q: Why did the computer catch a cold?
Because it caught a virus. 

Q: You know, the invisible man got a job, but he quit! Why is that!?
He couldn’t see himself working there anymore.

Q: Who is supposed to keep the oceans clean?
The mer-maids. 

Q: What did the astronaut say when he crashed into the moon?
“I Apollo-gize.”

Q: Why didn’t the orange win the fruit race?
It totally ran out of juice.

Q: Which dinosaur had the best vocabulary?
That would be the thesaurus.

Q: Why did the little birdy go to the doctor?
Because she needed tweetment.

Q: Why are dogs terrible at dancing?
Because they all have two left feet.

Q: A wolf stubbed his toe and screamed and hollered. What did he yell?

Q: There was a princess race, who won it?
Rapunzel did, but only by a hair!

Bringing the Family Together

Humor is a great way to build up your family’s positive energy and help everyone bond over the ridiculous nature of life. By helping develop your child’s sense of humor, you can help them have a better outlook on life. You can prevent personality and mood disorders like depression from forming and help your child become better at social interactions.

Share these jokes at your next family get-together and let the pun wars and laughter ensue!

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Valerie Mellema is a writer living on Lake Fork in East Texas with a crew of three border collies, goats, horses, and a whole bunch of chickens. When she’s not writing or riding, she enjoys knitting and needle felting, a hobby she picked up in Ireland.