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Healing Through Humor

Humor is one of the most powerful tools for healing from trauma. It’s a simple way to counter pain. Humor can provide relief and distraction it can make life feel more ordinary again. It can immediately relax a tense, anxious body and it can help children and adolescents understand that there IS joy after trauma. Humor is not healing when it is sarcastic, unkind, or dismissive of the trauma a child has experienced. And humor can’t be forced. You can’t tell a child to “put on a happy face” or make a child laugh when he doesn’t want to. The result will usually be the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve: the child will feel his pain instead of being taken seriously and may feel even sadder and more alone.

Humor is one of the most powerful tools for healing from trauma

What you can do to help a child “just have fun”

  • Watch funny movies or TV shows.
  • Play lively games that require active involvement, like Pictionary or charades.
  • Dance around the house with the music turned up.
  • Have a puppet show.
  • Take a bike ride together.
  • Sing together.
  • Play dress-up with old clothes and jewelry.
  • Play with a pet or walk the dog together.
  • Take a trip to an amusement park.
  • Read joke and riddle books together.
  • Share bedtime stories.
  • Make funny faces.
  • Color together.
  • Go to a playground together.
  • Play card games like “Go Fish” or “Uno.”
  • Learn a new computer game together.
  • Make a snowman.
  • Do a craft project together.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a hot-fudge sundae night.
  • Cook or bake together.
  • Go to a local sports event, like a PawSox or Little League game.
  • “Waste time” and do nothing; it can be a fun and much needed break from routines and responsibilities.
  • Do anything else you and the child think is fun.

Note-icon.pngHealthy humor is kind and wise. And when your foster child is able to forget about his pain for a while and just have fun, be ready to join in.