Why We Should Laugh With Our Kids

Last night we had pizza and movie night with Eby and Wogayu. The girls were gone for the evening, so it was only four of us; it felt so odd!

I didn’t love Despicable Me 3 (I’m not sure I even liked it), but the scene of the “dance fight” struck me as very funny. When the movie ended I challenged Wogayu to a dance fight – he thought I was kidding, but then I started doing a goofy dance and he looked at me like I was crazy. We all started laughing and somehow I got even sillier and dancing got – well, worse.

Russ pulled me close saying, “It makes me happy to see you like this.”

I looked at his eyes and felt a rush of love – it’s possible for us to feel happy. Our hearts are capable of being light.


With kids from “hard places,” we often feel the weight of our lives. We tend to be focused on the challenges and what needs to happen next. And as parents who have lost a child, sadness always swims around us.

More than three years ago I wrote, Smile More. Hug More. Be a Little Silly.

This morning I read it again and remembered the importance of this for our children. They need to feel our delight over them, especially when it may seem our attention is focused on instruction and correction.

It may not seem like much, but having pizza and watching a movie each Friday is a small step toward lightening up. I’m also trying to be more playful, which doesn’t come naturally to me. I bought Suspend and Banagrams because they require minimal setup and can be played quickly – my kind of games.

The thing about joy is we need to want it.

Don’t choose to stay in darkness under a blanket of grief; look for glimpses of light.

Our kids need us to seek joy and lead them to it.

They also need to know we enjoy them and they are “fun to be around,” which is one of our goals for the younger set.

Sometimes (not often enough) we watch goofy YouTube videos just to enjoy laughing side-by-side.  Like this one [caution: sexual references at about 5:00 if you want to mute.]

Or maybe this will do the trick.

With parental censorship, there is no end to the humor you’ll find on YouTube.

Let’s lighten up and laugh with our kids.

There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3

We’ve done a lot of weeping and mourning; let’s laugh and dance with our families.

I send you my love this morning, along with joy and hope for the journey.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Chris
    January 22, 2018

    Such good advice and so very practical. Who doesn’t feel better after laughing at some silliness

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 22, 2018

      Right! We have to look for opportunities. I just set the game Suspend out near our table and I’m going to suggest a quick game after dinner.

  2. Bev
    January 22, 2018

    When I was a young mom, I used to sing all the time. Show tunes while I worked. Hymns and folk songs when I rocked the kids to sleep.

    One of the sobering realizations that came after several years of parenting kids from hard places was remembering that I used to sing. Not only that I used to sing, but also that I could not remember the last time I sang outside of a worship service.

    That was a wake-up call.

    As was a short sentence from a book on attachment (I wish I could give a reference here, but I don’t remember which book). The author said that laughing together is a form of bonding.

    Thanks for this reminder.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 22, 2018

      I had a similar experience. I remember singing while I was washing dishes and realizing it was something I hadn’t done in a very long time. When we had a little foster girl here last week, I sang a bunch of silly songs with her and we laughed. Her eyes sparkled and she giggled – it was beautiful.


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