Today there is an increasing amount of pressure upon many children to become high achievers at a very early age and this creates stress, anxiety and depression in the same way that it does for adults.
Research shows us that during play with friends, children laugh more than 400 times a day, but what is happening to childhood in our modern world? Face to face interaction is increasingly being replaced by electronic games and remote communication devices whereas traditional play with others is where we used to learn about life and developed our emotional skills.
“Developing emotional intelligence is the single major factor
in determining our long-term life and career success.”
In particular, the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) continues to rise in the UK and prescriptions for methylphenidate drugs such as Ritalin rose by 50% in the last six years alone from 420,000 in 2007 to 657,000 in 2012.
It is clear that traditional play has changed almost beyond recognition and that there is an increasing need for laughter and playfulness in children of all ages as they strive to meet the demands of school, college and parents.
Laughter is vital for young people, helping them to develop emotional intelligence, now recognised as being the single major factor in our long-term life and career success. Laughter in a group with eye contact and movement is essential for the full development of young people.
When incorporated into the education system, laughter and relaxation techniques are very effective. Concentration levels increase, healthy relationships develop and stress is reduced. Blood circulation is quickly increased and lungs are flushed of stale air during laughter which increases the ability to learn and enhances academic performance. Through regular hearty laughter immune systems are boosted and endorphins are released creating good feelings and further reducing stress. Children also become more adept at handling pressure through a natural and sustained increase in self confidence.
Laughter has been successfully used for the development of children of all ages and abilities in primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges and youth centres. Some of the best results have come from working with young people with Autism, learning difficulties and/or challenging behaviours, helping them to fully express themselves and develop in a safe, supportive and fun environment.
Laughter quickly oxygenates the blood and other organs, leaving children of all ages and abilities feeling full of energy and physically fit.
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