Have You Tried Funny?


Having a hard time with tantrums, fussing, or fighting? Not sure what to do when your four year old cries over something that seems silly or your preschooler pouts? My trick: Become a comedian.

Nothing, and I repeat, nothing, can change the mood of a little one like a little funny can. I’ve used humor to stop tears, distract from hurts, and lighten a heavy, grumbling mood at the breakfast table…in the grocery store….or whenever I need to!

I sing. I dance. I rhyme. I prance (not really but I wanted to prove I could rhyme.) I speak with an accent (French and Italian are my specialties but I concoct my own version of Swahili every now and then).  I make whatever is handy into a funny hat. I pretend I’m in a musical and turn everything into a song. I play peek-a-boo with linen napkins at restaurants and hide behind menus when necessary.

Impersonations are another one of my specialties. I pretend I’m a monkey. I pretend I’m a lion. I pretend I’m a waiter. I pretend I’m one of them (usually crying or pouting or pounding my fists on the floor in a full blown protest).

Yes, I should be on America’s Got Talent. Or, better yet, have my own act at the Improv.  Though, I’m not confident that I can make anyone over 4 feet tall laugh out loud.

I’ve never been a Three Stooges fan, but I’ve noticed physical comedy always gets a response out of my kids. Somehow, nothing is funnier than mommy pretending to get hurt.

So, why do I make a complete fool out of myself in front of my children? Well, mostly because it works.

I can get upset, yell, demand, and direct. But, that normally results in an angry mommy and, in my case, up to four very frustrated children.

I can say, “Stop crying!” Over and again. But, that one never seems to work either…

Yet, if I pretend to bang my head on the wall and add a dramatic confused and silly face as an aftershock…tears will suddenly stop and be replaced by giggles. If I bounce the ball that they are fighting over onto my head a dozen times, the fight is forgotten and a new game begins. When I tire of begging them to eat their chicken, I simply pick up a piece and have it beg to be eaten. After a few seconds of waving the chicken in front of them and saying, “Please don’t eat me…don’t eat me…Help…Help!” (in my silliest “chicken” voice, of course) the meat is gobbled up.  Problem. Solved.

Tired of the bedtime fight? Try asking a stubborn three-year old if they are a peanut. After they give you a confused look tell them they look like one and that you are a hungry elephant. A giggly chase to bed is a whole lot more fun (oh, yeah, and much easier) than coercion, threats, bribes, or counting to three.

Comedy: it’s my best trick. What’s yours?


  1. This is fabulous advice and a great reminder that being silly is much more effective (and fun) when dealing with fussy kiddos. Thanks!


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