Works For Me: Make ‘Em Laugh

Today is Works-For-Me WednesdayThe Great Parenting Advice Edition, in which you share your best tip for imparting wisdom and character in the future generation of citizens.  Or keeping everyone in one piece, whichever works for you.

More out of necessity than wisdom, I’ve learned to laugh with my kids.  The more I observe all the relationships in my life, the more I see that humor is generally the glue that holds together shared values and experiences.  We laugh as a family.  A lot.  We make inside jokes, we create reasons to crack up together, and sometimes we make ourselves laugh when we don’t feel like it.  And every time we do, I feel something pass between my children and me, something I can’t quite explain. 

I don’t mean that we’re lighthearted when we shouldn’t be–we’re plenty serious when the occasion requires it.  But every day I see firsthand that there are fewer parenting tools more effective than making your child snort milk out his nose.

Since my kids were really little, I’ve had a little song-and-dance routine I pull out when the stress level is getting too thick.  It started as a shameless attempt to get a laugh out of a baby; it has evolved over the years into a routine that involves ridiculous choreography and a big finish.  My kids have ever-so-affectionately dubbed it "Mom’s Dork Dance."  And no, there is absolutely no way I will describe it to you, so don’t even ask.  Suffice it to say that it gets all of us (including me) laughing at just the right moment.   

The fact that my finest parenting advice involves personal humiliation should be an indication to you that I need some more pointers.  Enter your link below (link to your post, not to the front page of your blog–this is how you do it).  WFMW guidelines can be found here.

For those of you who came by earlier to see the Mr. Linky gone…sorry about that.  For some reason, I’m having major Mr. Linky technical issues lately.  I think it may have to do with the fact that I use Typepad–Mr. Linky and Typepad don’t always get along together.  But I’ve drawn a line down the middle of the backseat and told them they have to play together peacefully without bugging each other, so we’ll see what happens. 

If the links should disappear again later today, rest assured I’ll be working on it. 

1. Diatribal (Trust yourself)
2. Jill (It\’s Normal)
3. An Ordinary Mom (cool off corner)
4. Smockity Frocks (The B-I-B-L-E)
5. Stacey@Look, Mom, Look! (Potty Training)
6. Amanda (Count Down to Bedtime)
7. The Pumkin Patch
8. Nancy\’s Place (You\’re doing just fine!)
9. Barbara H. (assorted parenting tips)
10. Katy (Free Play)
11. Grace For Gayle (Shocking Revelation)
12. Lainey@bloginmyeye (classical oasis of quiet time)
13. DeputyHeadmistress (Just ONE? No way)
14. Many Little Blessings (help them to learn responsibilities)
15. Mommy Babble (early days of breastfeeding)
16. Summer\’s Nook (Mommy say, Kiddie repeat)
17. Rebecca Mielke (raising modest girls)
18. Mandy Houk (taming the interruption monster)
19. PASS THE TORCH (playdates)
20. Kat (Scuff Marks)
21. Many Little Blessings (Changing Your Outlook)
22. ellen b~ simply true
23. The Natural Mommy (Tic Tacs!)
24. At A Hen\’s Pace (Um–lots)
25. Lizzie\’s Home – a \’Whoops!" and advice
26. Tammy\’s Recipes (cooking with little helpers!)
27. Liza (Weakness & Strength)
28. Lynnae (ask for forgiveness)
29. Lori – Queen of Dirty Laundry (Persistence)
30. Michelle at Scribbit (Magic Stone Necklaces)
31. Joyful Days (advice to my first-time-parent friend)
32. Dena\’s Deliberations (Inconsistency)
33. Lisa B (recite scripture)
34. April @ For His Glory And My Good (How to Avoid Provoking Your Children)
35. Suzanne (organic blueberries)
36. Robin (Safeguard your OWN health)
37. Pieces (stop talking)
38. Corrie (road trip kits)
39. Garlic and Chocolate (swaddling and white noise)
40. Shalee (Keeping You Sane)
41. Where the Heart Is (timeouts anywhere)
42. Chappyswife (dressing alike)
43. NerdMom (Marriage)
44. Suzanne (transfering the motivation off of me and onto the kids)
45. Sarah @ Love Well (2 cent baby food)
46. Paige (job chart)
47. Jennifer, Snapshot (Think Long Term)
48. Amber (parenting Advice)
49. Pastormac\’s Ann (Parenting with G.R.A.C.E.)
50. Lines From The Vine (Parenting Tips)
51. Jes (bye-bye boo-boos)
52. Stretch Mark Mama (Bedtime Routine)
53. Jenn (Baby, toddler and beyond)
54. Demeter (Quit Hovering!)
55. Melanie (MessesAndKids)
56. Jamie (car games)
57. Mari (consistency)
58. GP in Montana-Slow Down 2 go Faster
59. Nancy
60. Like I Was Saying (When you\’re down on yourself)
61. Lana G! ~they\’re watching
62. The Estrogen Files – Sun Safety
63. Homeschool Mama (Making Special Memories!)
64. So Many Joys (Watch the Baby, Not the Clock)
65. Veronica (Free Activities with Kids)
66. Jill
67. momrn2 ("Happy" Time Out)
68. Amy W (Kids & routines)
69. Michelle (Breaking all the Rules)
70. Karen (Almost Guilt Free!)
71. Musings of a Housewife (Enjoy those babies!)
72. Mandy (structure & routines)
73. jennifer (being consistent)
74. It Coulda Been Worse (Reluctant Diner)
75. Kellyn (Getting rid of the pacifier)
76. Duckabush (Traveling w/Kids)
77. Jill (Consistency)
78. Steph\’s Mommy Brain (Daddy!)
79. Tracy (baby sleep)
80. T with Honey (explicit instructions)
81. KimC (pastry wrapped kittens)
82. Semicolon (8 is great)
83. jen (Whose Kids Are These?)
84. Girl Gone Wild (Fix It Couch)
85. Heather L. (early training/relaxing)
86. Amy (no horror birth stories)
87. Shauna (lifelong learning)
88. Nancy – (Give Them Wings & Roots!)
89. Marcia, organising queen
90. Alexandra/Potty Seat Mistake
91. At Home with Kris (helping sibling behavior)
92. Ewokgirl (Accepting Teens)
93. SeaBird (Favorite Parenting Books)
94. Rhen (forgiveness)
95. TracyMichele (stop bickering)
96. Carrie J (Another Sleeping Tip)
97. Amy (parenting Website)
98. Elena parenting through grief
99. Mummymac(book)
100. Carrie (mini trampoline)
101. Nancy
102. Nancy
103. 4andcounting (stop reading!)
104. Candace (It\’s only a season)
105. Alicia
106. Cindy (Super Summer Mom)
107. peach (priorities)
108. Rachel (bedtime routine)
109. Kara (different parenting styles)
110. Emily (Breastfeeding tips)
111. Georgia Mom
112. Mama Says (4 Best Tips)
113. It Coulda Been Worse (Reluctant Diner)
114. momma2beans (Taking It All In)
115. Mama Pajama (unique)
116. Dawn (Sleeping Kids)
117. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings (taking turns)
118. Janel (kids & knowing Scripture)
119. Jessica (trusting instinct with medical issues)
120. Kathy (baby health)
121. BroomHuggers (Cleaning with kids)
122. Amy Jane (Kids\’ Questions follow-up)
123. Andrea (choose your battles)
124. Megan (Advice from a Kangaroo)
125. Lorie(Fun with Ziplock bags)
126. Jen Smith (the miraculous timer)
127. Joy (Cutting Toddler Food On the Go)
128. KimC (pastry wrapped kittens)
129. Just In Case (Dolly)- Mommy\’s Power Naps
130. Tonsofsons
131. To Know Him
132. Ann Kroeker (various bits of advice)
133. Tina (shop b4 bub comes)
134. Kris (You need friends)
135. Kim – Several Tips that WFM
136. Mira (dating)
137. Laura (free videos)
138. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving
139. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving (Mom of 4 knows nothing)
140. JavaMama (baby&sleep)
141. zamejias
142. Mique (do what works for you)
143. onecrazymom (rules for controlling clutter – and a little history and Bible lesson to boot!)

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Links are closed for this week. Thanks for playing!

100 thoughts on “Works For Me: Make ‘Em Laugh

  1. Diatribal says:

    You’re fast! πŸ˜‰
    Making your kids shoot milk from the nostrils is ALWAYS good parenting advice! It’s something we should all strive to do more often.
    (Now bring on the potty advice….that’s what we need now…)

  2. Barbara H. says:

    Laughing together is so important and really does the soul good. Plus there are all the neat memories of laughter in general and over specific incidents.

  3. Katy says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for some time now, and especially the Works-for-Me entries! Thanks for the reminder to laugh with our children! We all need more of that!

  4. Mandy says:

    What a great reminder, Shannon, to keep things in perspective with laughter!
    Thanks for hosting this theme. I am excited to read all the tips.

  5. Lisa Boyd says:

    Aw shucks! I was really hoping to see a YouTube of the dork dance — I need some inspiration. I’ve never made milk come out of my daughter’s nose — although I have made her spray Coke all over me and the floor!

  6. Michelle at Scribbit says:

    Very jealous of your Blogher time, I would have loved to have met you and said thanks in person for doing the WFMW each week–I still remember the thrill of seeing how many visitors I had when I participated that first time. You should have seen it, “Andrew, there have been at least 50 people at my blog today–all because of Shannon!!” πŸ™‚

  7. Dawn says:

    I think I have a few things I’ve done to inspire laughter that I wouldn’t be describing to anyone, either!!
    This week’s theme is a great idea – I can’t wait to read all the entries!

  8. Dawn says:

    Great advice. Laughter is a great thing in so many situations, although I’m the type of geek that laughs at times when I shouldn’t, especially at work. It is really fun to make my kids laugh, though.

  9. laura says:
    a long, long, long time ago in a land far, far awy, i discovered as mommy to my now 20 year old, that although children NEED, CRAVE, WANT structure they sometimes don’t think they want it. In order for my now 20 year old to take the much needed afternoon nap i had to let her think she wasn’t really napping. no, she was just having quiet tme on ber bed with her barbies….she always fell asleep but don’t tell her that! fast forward 20 years later and little brother thinks the same way. he is too old/big for a nap….only babies take a nap! fine, i tell him. then he can sit with his cuddle toy and watch a movie. the opening credits scarcely roll by and he is snozzing away.
    the lesson learned is pick your battels carefully, adapt and adjust accordingly and in th grand scheme remeber you are the parent, tehy are he child. be there for them, meet their basic needs (even nap time) and love thm always, always.
    once again, mommy dearest has won the nap time war but please don’t tell my son.

  10. Meg says:

    My guaranteed way to make the kids laugh? When they are trying so hard to frown or pout, I just say, don’t you laugh, don’t you even think of it, don’t even smile a little bit – it automatically breaks the tension.
    Your post was timely for me, as my boys were being pistols last night. I promise to laugh with them tonight…we could have used a bit of that last evening before bedtime.

  11. KimC says:

    My e key is acting up again, so I’ll make it short and sweet. I hope y’all appreciate it, because just try typing with no e key. It’s not fast and it’s not fun.
    Here’s my post, a little funny and a little serious. Hope it helps save someone else’s kitten from being rolled in pastry.

  12. nicole says:

    Thanks for hosting. Regardless of how experienced we may think we are we can always learn from others. Except that I just contradicted my own post. πŸ˜‰

  13. mom2fur says:

    This is so true! Only the gravest of situations can’t be changed with a little humor. (Although I give everyone permission to do a dork dance at my wake…in about 45 years.)
    Once, my husband was all bent out of shape because a can of cashews had somehow ‘vanished.’ So he’s yelling, “who took my d*m*ed n*ts?” I mean, really…like we weren’t supposed to start cracking up over that? So now it’s a running joke in our house. Yes, we are a weird family. Maybe I should learn the dork dance…

  14. Sandy@Reluctant Entertainers says:

    Hi Shannon!
    If you get a chance, go to and check out “Father Summer Road Rules” (go under parenting). It’s right up your alley and sense of humor — you’ll get a kick out of it! Laughter is SO good for us.
    Great post.

  15. diana says:

    great post. i totally agree… laughter works. my husband and i are kinda goofy and definitely young at heart, so the laughter came naturally. sometimes the contrast between my kids and their friends is great and i can see where laughter goes further than i had ever thought.

  16. Faerylandmom says:

    That just brought back a HUGE memory for me! My dad also has a “dork dance” that I saw in my head the second I read those words. He’d also flare his nostrils at me when I was trying to be serious, and I just couldn’t handle it.
    Thank you for reminding me to thank him. πŸ™‚

  17. zamejias says:

    I’d do funny things too, with my little one…sometimes, when I feel I’m too uptight already, I’d always make it a point to remember to shriek “Tickle!”..Better to have a “tickle” fight than anything unpleasant.

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