By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist
As a professional, Dadologist and all around good guy…… I would say that if I have learned anything over the past decade, it is that the most important lesson a father could ever learn is to simply PAY ATTENTION, at all times ( which is easier than you think) to YOUR KIDS!
This is particularly so for the times you aren’t actually engaging the kids throughout the day. Paying strictly, focused attention will eventually help you develop that eye in the back of your head. Or your kids will think so anyway. It all comes down to the sounds they make. In particular the laugh. While we all like to hear our kids laugh, because let’s face it, it means they are happy and hopefully well adjusted kids. But as you pay attention, you will notice that kids have different laughs and you can tell quite a bit from the differences in those laughs.
I know, you think I must be nuts, there isn’t any hidden meaning behind a kid’s laugh. Do a quick run down in your head of the differing styles of laughter in your household. You will realize that each has its own meaning, that isn’t necessarily universal and pertains to your unique children. Below is a simple list of the laughs my three kids make and what each typically means. By being able to distinguish between them has saved me a lot of trips across the house to see what is going on.
- The giggle means they are being sneaky and I had better go see what is up.
- The hysterical, nonstop laughter usually means they are watching a movie or TV and all is good.
- The high pitched, long laugh means they are jumping on the bed and intervention is needed.
- The super loud, almost a scream laugh means they are playing by hand and it’s punishment time around our house.
- The normal toned, yet slightly subdued laugh means they are playing a game or something innocent.
- The nonstop, begging laugh more often than not means that Other Daddy is playing in tickle mode.
- The short, snorting laugh probably means that kids just read something amusing.
Now, I imagine there are a few others I haven’t mentioned, but you get the idea. A laugh an speak volumes when it comes to your kids and their behavior. It may take a few months to figure them all out but once you have……your life becomes a lot easier.