20 Easy Ways to Get Kids to Laugh Without Tickling

People have always known it and now science is beginning to prove that laughter really is the best medicine. After a good laugh we’re more relaxed, our blood vessels function better, we’ve released feel good hormones into our system, reduced our pain levels, boosted our immune system and even reduced blood sugar levels!

And that doesn’t even cover the psychological effects of laughter. People with a good sense of humor have been shown to recover from depression more quickly and they’re less likely to become depressed in the first place. There’s no question that laughter puts us in a better mood. So how can we help our kids release their pent up emotions through laughter?

Tickling is often the go-to method of getting young children to laugh. But when we’re tickling kids, they may or may not be enjoying it, and we have no way of telling whether they’re having fun or are upset. I can remember being tickled as a child and fearing that it would never end. I couldn’t catch my breath, I couldn’t stop laughing, and I couldn’t even tell the person tickling me that I was no longer having fun.

That was until my mom came up with a way for me to control the tickling. We played a game in which I got to tell her when to start and when to stop tickling. And only then, did I feel safe during tickling.

So, if you typically resort to tickling to induce laughter in your child, I hope you’ll consider checking in to see whether it’s something they actually enjoy, and setting up a way for them to control the tickling.

And in case you’re wondering, there are tons of other ways to get young kids to laugh. And you don’t have to become an expert at comedy improv to do it (although it couldn’t hurt!).

Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Surprise them

2) Fall down

3) Put on a silly hat

4) Speak in a funny voice

5) Be forgetful

6) Run away from them

7) Chase after them

8) Pretend to “get” them

9) Use an accent

10) Pretend you’re the baby

11) Dance wildly

12) Pillow fight

13) Potty talk

14) Speak in gibberish

15) Mess up your hair

16) Knock something over

17) Pretend they’re getting into trouble “Don’t do that! Oh no! She did it again!”

18) Beg for something

19) Cling to them

20) Fake laugh or fake cry

The idea here is to make yourself the more vulnerable, forgetful, inept, and clumsy one and allow your child to take a position of power over you. This almost always results in peals of laughter, and don’t worry, kids know that this is a game and that you’re still ultimately in charge.

So, how will you invite and induce more laughter this week? My final tip? If you find something that works and makes your kid laugh, keep doing it!

I hope you’ll have a laughter filled week. Warm hugs, Shelly


Potty talk? Acting like a baby? Speaking gibberish? You're and idiot, your baby is absorbing everything you do. Don't teach them these things. They will end up repeating you or have speech impediments.