We have this pheonominon in our society in which something funny happens and everyone laughs. But when a child among adults laughs and the pun was beyond them (whether it was dirty, beyond their developmental level, or a cultural reference from before their time, whatever), an adult looks at them and says (sometimes teasingly, sometimes condescendingly), “You don’t get it.”
But here’s the thing about that: laughter is contagious. I can think of three primary reasons little ones laugh at things they don’t get:
- They really think they get it. In this case, they do get SOMETHING, just maybe not the same as everyone else.
- They know that a good time is being had and they’re excited about it.
- They just want to feel like part of the crew.
In any of those cases, even if the laughter is one of those really awkward forced laughs that kids tend to do, I see every reason to just let them be. Laughter is contagious, so let’s let them catch it and spread it around!