How to Joke Around With Kids
Funny development: As they enter tweendom, kids are more inclined to choose their friends over their families, says Karp, which makes them a tough room—parents have to work extra hard to get that laugh.
Their comedy heroes: Their BFFs, obvs. And OMG, r u kidding? Def. Not. U!
Comedy gold: If they would rather be with their peers, try telling them stories about yourself when you were their age (but for heaven’s sake, don’t kill it with a “Why, when I was your age…”). Bee suggests “busting out old photos of yourself that your husband forbids you to expunge. Allow them to relish ‘You, the Future Mrs. Jon Bon Jovi’ or ‘Satin Pants You.’ Then let them read some of your most earnest free-form poetry from that time. You may end up in tears, but it will be worth it.”
As Murphy sees it, telling them stories of your own awkwardness, boyfriendlessness, flat-chestedness, or all-of-the-aboveness “not only entertains them but also reminds them that they’re not the only ones who are vulnerable.” Just don’t give them the idea that it’s OK to laugh at other people (though you probably don’t need an expert to remind you). It could signal that bullying behavior is acceptable, adds Murphy. “But when you teach them how to cultivate jokes and humor about themselves,” she says, “you’re giving them a lifelong gift.”