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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.

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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.