It’s no joke – adults in the South East need to laugh more!
Published on 07/04/2016

We all know that laughter is the ‘best medicine’ and new research shows that stressed out adults could learn a lesson or two from their children on how to laugh more.

The research carried out ahead of the Easter break by intu, owners of some of the largest and most popular shopping centres across the UK, reveals that 42% of parents in the South East laugh just once a day or less with their children.

25% of parents in the region also said they found it stressful keeping their children entertained but 66% believe that laughter is a great way to help relieve stress, followed by fun family activities (56%).

Psychologist Emma Kenny, who analysed the research findings, said: “The wonderful thing about young children is their ability to experience the here and now, which enables them to react to life moment by moment. Adults are often struggling with their work life balance, or focussing on things they need to do next, which impacts on their time and the opportunity to have fun and laugh at life. It's so essential for adults to laugh with children and each other as it unites, inspires and reminds us of how wonderful it is to be human.

“With millions of us taking time off this Easter to spend more time with our children, it is a brilliant time to focus on all the joy and laughter being a parent can bring us. Plan ahead by finding those opportunities to laugh and spend quality time together as a family, so that they can become part of your daily routine.”

It is with laughter in mind that intu has partnered up with Nickelodeon UK & Ireland, to host a series of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants Laughter Parties’ for families at intu Milton Keynes over the Easter break.

Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes, said: “This is really interesting research that proves that we all need laughter; the SpongeBob SquarePants Laughter Party will provide families with a fun place to spend time and enjoy being together. We are delighted to be partnering with Nickelodeon to present this free event; there are lots of activities available and we’re sure everyone will enjoy it.”

The research also showed that 87% of parents of 0-16 year olds surveyed in the region think their children make them laugh the most, and 73% share a good laughter session with their children at least once a day.

Emma believes that there are educational benefits to laughter too, as it induces a positive affect in people which makes it easier to learn new things. This is why laughter and play go hand in hand, with playful activities an excellent way for children to learn new skills, and laughter signalling that they are in a safe environment to learn.

There are also many health benefits to laughing, with 85% of local parents polled selecting the top benefit as ‘makes you feel happier in general’. This was closely followed by ‘decreases stress’ (69%) and ‘releases endorphins’ (58%), all of which are good reasons why adults should do it more often.

Local parents were also asked what they thought their children would most like to do over Easter, and 47% believed that their children would want to spend time with family.

intu Milton Keynes is hosting the SpongeBob SquarePants Laughter Party on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 April, with a range of free family friendly activities that are not to be missed.

Visitors will be able to dive into SpongeBob SquarePants’ world of Bikini Bottom to join the ultimate sea bed laughter party, packed with interactive fun and games including the Giggle Groove silent disco, Snail Slalom racing, Laughter Limbo and much more! Activities are free, with no booking required and are open to all ages, but are particularly suitable for children in pre-school and early years.

The laughter will also continue on air as Nickelodeon asks SpongeBob fans to ‘Show us your Funniest SpongeBob Laugh.’ Kids can submit clips of their best laughs for a chance to win a certificate signed by voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny, and a chance to appear on Nicktoons as part of a special interstitial campaign.

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