Laughter Practice for Children and Those Who Care for Them

The Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot Program for Children

The stressors of daily life – including the school environment – can stifle the natural stress reducing reflex of laughter. But give children permission to laugh especially within the usually serious academic environment and there is a welcome relief of stress and tension that can produce dramatically positive results.   

Hearty laughter can improve blood circulation and oxygen supply to the brain and internal organs, rid the lungs of stale air, improve concentration and increase learning ability and academic performance.

Comaraderie, team spirit, deep belly guffaws, and just plain old fashion fun can be seen in the beautiful faces of these children from Kaime Woody Sherman’s, Academy of Imagination & Dramatic Arts day camp laughter celebration.

Children will suffer fewer attacks of coughs, colds, throat and chest infections, as laughter helps to build good immunity against common infection. When children are put in the right conditions to laugh at school, their confidence is boosted, their ability to handle stress improves and bullying decreases. They develop a positive attitude, even in challenging times. Laughter Yoga also stimulates their right brain hemisphere, enhancing their creative abilities.
Imagine what a short laughter session can do prior to a high-stakes exam, sports competition, or public speaking event.

Laughter Yoga also delivers an increased sense of connection and community, improved concentration and significant stress reduction for both children and their caregivers.

On two separate occasions Mountview Public School and St. Vincent de Paul School Day Care Program invited me to their literacy night to offer an interactive educational program for the Junior Kindergarteners to the 6th grade students.

The groups engaged in an all-out high impact exercise workout. Parents, students and staff shook hands and laughed. They gave each other laughing shocks, chortled with evil-sounding laughter, put pretend ice-cubes down each other’s backs, ran around like super heroes powered by laughter, behaved like they had toads in their pockets, sang with gibberish to a pretend orchestra and jumped around like giggling space aliens. The school gym rang out with many bursts of full-belly laughter.

One of the parents mentioned that Laughter Yoga should be part of the curriculum and a grade six student said he liked the relaxation meditation at the end because it gave him time to relax and have some quiet time. Other children responded by following me around like I was the Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot.

I learned very young if I wanted to feel better all I had to do was laugh. You’ve heard the expression, laugh it off, and don’t cry over spilt milk; well even when I was young I knew how important it was to let go. I never forgot these expressions and lived by them through the tough times and the good ones.

When children are put in the right conditions to laugh at school, their confidence is boosted, and their ability to handle stress can improve, thereby eliminating the amount of bullying. They develop a positive attitude, even in challenging times. Laughter Yoga also stimulates their right brain hemisphere, relieves pain naturally and enhances their creative abilities.

Laughing with children and their parent(s) in a safe environment where they have undergone extreme stressors in their family life due to an abusive parent, has proven that even children and their parent(s) suffering with low self esteem,  feeling unloved, abandoned, and beaten up mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually can benefit from Laughter Yoga.

The name for my program, “The Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot” came about after laughing and playing with a group of children for half an hour. As I walked over to get a drink of water, I noticed that the children were right behind me in a straight line, giggling and laughing waiting for me in anticipation to begin the next round of belly laughs. 

Joyful Heart, Joyful Spirit equal a Joyful Life!
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,
Laughing Kathryn

“After my first laughter yoga session with Kathryn Kimmins I was so inspired and felt so much lighter and happier, I decided to try one of the laughter yoga exercises with my grade one students.  I wanted to see if it made any difference to their concentration level and the mood of the room.

We were sitting in a circle when I asked one of my shy students a simple addition question. After the student answered correctly, I promptly replied “fabulous, fabulous, great”! The reaction I got was unexpected. Most of the students repeated the phrase, with great big smiles and the student who answered the addition question was beaming from ear to ear with the biggest smile on his face that I had ever seen.  The whole atmosphere of the room changed and every single student sat on the carpet with one hand in the air waiting to answer my next addition question.

Since that experience, when I want to increase the positivity in the room or give a particular child an added boost to his/her confidence, I will use the phrase “fabulous, fabulous, great”! It’s so popular now, that many of the children will initiate it themselves”.

Judy Mendleson

Grade 1 teacher, Westwood Public School, HWDSB

So the next time you witness the joy of laughter from a child, join in!

Laughter Yoga touches the child in everyone.”