Humor is a natural part of life that we all enjoy. And while we all can use a good laugh every now and then, no one appreciates silliness more than children. The inclination to be silly is not only a developmental necessity, but it can also be an early indicator of positive psychosocial traits and creative thinking.
As adults, sometimes we view silliness as a diversion from the lesson we had planned–and as a result, we can try to shut it down. But here are some science-backed reasons to take silliness seriously (and to encourage it when we want to foster a love of learning!):
- Silliness makes children feel safe.
For children and adults, joy is often an antidote to self-doubt or fear. When you participate in silly play with your child, you are effectively saying “this is a safe space to be yourself and explore” while also modeling a way of experiencing life as safe, fun, and joyous. Especially in homeschool, when school is an extension of our home life, this is crucial for establishing an environment where curiosity and exploration can thrive.
- Silliness helps us cope with stress.
You know that relaxed feeling you get after a big belly laugh? Silliness got you there! A feeling of safety and comfort allows kids to develop and strengthen their ability to self-regulate and cope with stress. It also helps them develop a more nuanced approach to tackling challenges and bounce back from disappointment quickly and healthily.
- Silliness helps you bond!
Getting on your child’s level–especially in their preferred form of play–shows them that you value their world and way of seeing things. And when you show them that their rules and needs are respected and considered, they may even show you the same respect when it comes to your rules and needs. This way of connecting will help you develop better communication and a tighter bond between you.
- Positive, silly experiences help learning thrive.
Kids learn most effectively when the experience and environment are joyful. As a result, engaging in silly play with your children facilitates learning and helps bolster your child’s future success.
- It actually encourages positive discipline.
Some parents resist silly play because they feel it is counterproductive when it comes to teaching discipline. But the truth is, being open to engaging with children on their level turf promotes mutual respect and acceptance. In other words, your child will likely be more willing to follow your lead and prompts regarding rules if you occasionally consider theirs. (source)
During your month of lessons, look for ways to bring in the silly! Use a silly voice when reading your stories, make silly faces while doing your math lessons and add imagination to your activities.
This form of silliness is not a time waster. On the contrary, you are building the foundation for a healthy relationship with learning―and with you.
At the Learn + Live Letter, we not only provide unit study curriculum that is flexible and fun but also support parents and grownups teaching them along the way. Learn more about our program here and why we love unit studies here. We look forward to the opportunity to learn + live with you throughout your homeschool experience! Click here to learn more about our subscription options!