I haven't figured this out yet . . .
I discovered my new favorite thing to do with my kids; laughing just to make them laugh.
I first realized I could do this one morning a couple of weeks ago when I took G to school. We usually stop at his cubby outside his classroom to drop off any personal items he may have for the day and then we walk down the hall to the lunchroom where we leave his lunchbox and he waits for his teacher. On this particular morning, C thought it would be fun to run down the halls squealing with delight and G decided to follow her lead by racing her down the hall to the lunchroom. Naturally, I chased after them, which made it even funnier to them.
By the time we reached the lunchroom, the two of them stopped and just sort of stood there looking at each other and laughing hysterically. They did this for a while, even though there wasn’t anything particularly funny and ever since then, if one of them is laughing, I’ve noticed that the other laughs as well.
I suppose this bandwagon laughing happens for the same reason that you might laugh at something in a movie that’s not really funny just because everyone else laughs. I experienced that with the movie Nacho Libre. I saw it once with some co-workers and laughed at almost everything they laughed at. Not because I wanted them to think that I thought the same stuff was funny, I was genuinely laughing. When I saw it by myself I didn’t laugh at all. I guess that proves that laughter really is contagious.
I tried this out with C today and we spent the better part of the morning just laughing at each other for no reason. Of course, then I started to laugh for real because I think it’s funny that she’ll laugh just because I’m laughing. The great thing about this is that laughing so much can actually tire C out. Laughing has a bunch of other benefits, but I don’t think I really need to make a case here for laughter.
It’s also somewhat amusing that I can manipulate my kids into laughing. I haven’t tried it with adults, but I imagine it isn’t quite as easy.