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Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACES) Hawai‘i
He ‘a‘ali‘i kū makani mai au; ‘a‘ohe makani nāna e kūla‘i.
I am a wind-withstanding ‘a‘ali‘i; no wind can topple me over.

Laughter is the Best Medicine!


Knock! Knock! - Okay, I won’t go there, nor will I make your eyes roll (as my daughters often do) with a “Dad Joke.” Instead, I’d like to highlight the benefits of laughter and how we can use it in our early learning settings.

Beyond lightening our day or evoking a happy memory, research shows that regular laughter can support our “body, mind, and spirit.” It strengthens the immune system, distracts us from pain, and helps mitigate stress. Laughter calms our nervous system, “relaxes” our body, and releases endorphins, which curb the effects of toxic stress. For our young keiki, laughter promotes healthy development, the expression of emotions, and connects happy memories during the establishment of habits and routines.

As I always emphasize, the two non-negotiable tenets of Trauma-Informed Care are the establishment, protection, and/or re-establishment of “safety and connection.” Laughter is a powerful strategy in establishing these. During my time assisting with the devastating Maui Wildfires, laughter was an effective tool in stabilizing fire victims and first responders. It often led to tears and hugs, which helped the people I supported. I assured them that laughter, even if seemingly inappropriate at times, was natural and part of the coping and healing process.

If you run an early childcare center, consider creating a “laughter center.” At the beginning of the year, to curb separation anxiety, talk with your families and keiki to strategize what they can bring from home that makes them laugh. Please leave comments and suggestions on how you promote laughter in your early childhood setting. This is not limited to our keiki—educators, caregivers, and administrators need to laugh too! So, what are some key strategies we can use to encourage more laughter among staff?



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