Understanding and Promoting the Development of Children’s Humor

Understanding and Promoting the Development of Children's Humor by Paul McGhee

by Paul McGhee
Published by Kendall/Hunt (but available only through this website).
Available only at this website via Pay Pal.
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Have you ever wondered why young children say the funny things they say?  This book provides the answer.  It is written for parents, grandparents and educators of young children.  It first discusses the ways in which humor benefits young children’s intellectual, social and emotional development.  It also offers guidelines for nurturing your child’s sense of humor.  The bulk of the book discusses basic developmental (age-related) changes in children’s sense of humor from infancy until age seven or eight years.  You will learn how children’s humor changes as they get older.  It is emphasized that children have a biological predisposition to play, and this shows up in different ways as new mental abilities emerge.  These changes in mental development generate changes in children’s sense of humor that are similar around the world.


1. Why Should You Nurture the Development of Your Child’s Sense of Humor?

Intellectual benefits
Social benefits
Emotional benefits
Physical health benefits

2. Developmental Changes in Children’s Humor

What is humor?
Stage 0: Laughter without humor
Stage 1: Laughter at the attachment figure
Stage 2: Treating an object as a different object
Stage 3: Misnaming objects or actions
Stage 3a: Opposites–a special case of misnaming
Stage 4a: Playing with word sounds
Stage 4b: Nonsense real-word combinations
Stage 4c: Distortion of features of objects, people or animals
Stage 4d: Gender reversal
Laughter during physical play: Is it humor?
Pre-riddle stage
Stage 5: jokes and riddles
The role of mental challenge
Discovery of the joke facade and learning to use humor to cope

3. How to Nurture Your Child’s Sense of Humor