Laughter has many proven benefits, including increased alertness, memory and creativity. A good fit of laughter can also provide a workout for your core and facial muscles, all while lowering your blood pressure. The list goes on and on, but my purpose today is not to tell you what a quick Google search could spell out. I want to share my experience with bringing the Power of Giggles into our home.
When my now 6-year-old was a toddler and having frequent "I don't want to go to bed!" moments, I knew I needed a new approach. While it seemed counter-intuitive to me, one night I decided to get her laughing. The constant negotiations and plopping her in her crib to cry it out weren't making either of us feel very warm and fuzzy, so I figured I didn't have much to lose. Out came the tickle bugs, goofy faces and silly stories. It was magic! Five minutes of giggles and she was off to bed without a fuss. We continued to have our story time each night, but when it was time to get in her crib (cue the whining), I switched into giggle mode. Eventually she just started going to bed without a fuss, and the need for my new superpower waned.
Fast-forward to today and it's no longer bedtime that's the issue. Now it's waking up for school that elicits the whining. After a few weeks of 15-minute warning... 10-minute warning... 5-minute warning... "Get dressed now!!", something needed to change. She's only six, after all, which means I have years of potentially rough mornings ahead of me if we continue along this path. It was time to re-visit the Power of Giggles. I started going into her room in the morning and laying with her. I would tell her about all of the silly things I was going to make her for breakfast: snow-covered pine cones, roasted bark with rainbow feathers, mud pancakes with pine needle sprinkles--the sillier the better. Before I knew it she was giggling and making up her own concoctions. In no time at all (five minutes!) she was wide awake and ready to go.
Now that we are further into the school year I find myself needing to use my goofy tactics less and less, but it's nice to have a trick up my sleeve for an occasional sleepy morning. I'm not sure what the future will bring for my girls or how the Power of Giggles will need to evolve as they grow. For now I will just enjoy the sounds of laughter floating through our house instead of yelling and whining--at least at wake-up and bedtime. :)
Writing this post has made me realize how much I've used the Power of Giggles throughout my own life, both personally and professionally. There have been countless instances when I've said "I can laugh or I can cry, and I choose laughter". As an imperfect human being (and a mother of a 2-and 6-year-old, mind you), I know that this is not always the choice I make, but I keep trying. I hope we can all try to be conscious each and every day of the decision we have, to choose laughter over tears.
Peace + Joy