Laugh together more often

Laughter is a fantastic way to develop relationships and create bonds within your family. When everyone’s off doing their own things, though, the laughter might fade a bit. Use these tips to find the fun again and laugh together more often.

Family laughing in living room watching movie

The power of laughter

Everyone likes to laugh. Whether you’re in stitches watching a funny movie or giggling about an inside joke, laughter releases stress and makes you feel good. Laughter is also critically important for the family, says clinical psychologist John Duffy, author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens. “It builds resilience in family relationships, making them more appreciated and enjoyable during smooth times, and strengthening and preparing them for the rougher times. I find that families who have a collective sense of humor are more closely connected in most every way.” here are a few ideas to harness the power of laughter in your family.

Make it a priority

Tell your family you want to laugh together more often. As simple as it sounds, creating a laughter goal may be all you need to get the ball rolling. Try creating a “laugh zone” — a time and place you set aside to do something fun and playful that will make you laugh together as a family, suggests Dr. Sybil Keane, licensed therapist and mental health expert on Let each family member chime in to help decide what you do. Just make sure the laughter isn’t at the expense of any particular family member.

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Try something new

Evoke the “new activity” laugh by trying something new as a family. Whether you head to a rock climbing gym, go jumping at a trampoline center or decorate cookies together, choose something that’s new to everyone and focus on fun rather than perfection.

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Kick back and relax

Pick out a few comedy films and plan a laugh-in for your family. Order pizza, pop popcorn and set up the movie showcase. While it’s best to choose films that are new to the whole gang, feel free to play one or two movies that have become family classics. A laugh doesn’t have to be a “new laugh” to be a good laugh.

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Getting the gang off their cell phones and computers these days is tough, but the best way to laugh is by engaging with one another through shared experiences. Make electronics off-limits one night and play laugh-friendly games such as charades, Scattergories and Catch Phrase. If you’re not the game-playing type, plan a family talent show or set up a campfire in your backyard and tell ghost stories while roasting marshmallows. Your fun night doesn’t have to be a regular laugh-riot to still encourage happy laughter.

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