Learning to Laugh

Learning to Laugh like Barry the Circus Clown

Laugh easy to say but for many children it is so difficult to do. Please use this learning to laugh story when your child is feeling down and seems to have lost their ability to smile. It is designed to facilitate

  • Learning to smile
  • Learning to laugh
  • Building up positive feelings using a natural process we all have

Barry was sat in front of a large make-up mirror. It had lots light bulbs all the way round. He could see his face very clearly. He face paint round his lips to make a big white smile on his face. Then he drew a solid red line and a black line round the white to make it stand out even more. Barry looked at his face and knew he had to paint on some large eyes. He did this in a special way that made them look wide-open. They also seemed bright and twinkly eyes. This is because he added glitter as well.

Barry picked up a wig. It was like an old fashioned mop but was a ginger red colour. He popped it onto his head and pulled it over his ears. It did look funny sticking out all over the place. The final touch was a battered old hat with a big yellow flower stuck on it. The flower was plastic and hidden down the back of his head was a rubber tube. This went down his back to a squeezy bulb in his pocket. this was full of cold water. He needed to hide the rubber tube so he put on a huge baggy jacket. It was old, worn and had patches on. His trousers were also far too big so he needed braces to hold them up. He put the braces over his jacket. Silly Barry.

The last thing he put on was a pair of overgrown odd shoes and. One was red and yellow, the other was blue and green. Barry walked out of his caravan and straight into a big red and white striped tent. As soon as the audience saw him they started laugh. In case you have not worked it out Barry is a silly circus clown. The look of Barry was enough to make people laugh.

As he ran into the circus ring he tripped over his long shoes and the crowd laughed out loud. Barry did a silly walked up to a glum looking person in the front row and squeezed the bulb in his pocket. The flower squirted water over the person, the audience laughed even more. Barry was definitely a funny clown.

After the show Shanice, a trapeze artist, came to see Barry in his caravan. Barry had wipe the smile off his face. he looked very different in real life. His real mouth didn’t lift up at the corners it drooped down. Next he wiped away the sparkling eye makeup. To show that his eyes looked sad and dull.

“What’s the matter?” asked Shanice.

Barry said “It is easy to make others laugh, but I can’t find a laugh inside me".

He continued, "When I was in school it was easy to make the other kids laugh. I didn't feel like the other kids. I wasn’t good at sports, I had two left feet and kept falling over them. And I was often told I was a bit thick as I was usually bottom of the class. The one thing I did excel at was to get other kids to laugh".

"That is why I trip over when I start my act as I know people will laugh at me. I did lots of silly things like have a drink without opening my mouth so I would get wet. Kids would think it was funny and laugh. I realised that I did have a talent so went on being a circus clown. But I never felt really happy about doing it. It is all based on a lot of hurt from being a child. My silliness never makes me laugh”

“Okay,” said Shance, we need to stop you being sorry for yourself. If a laugh is impossible I am sure you can do a big smile into your mirror.” They both sat and looked in the mirror as Barry tried to smile.

“Sorry but that is not good enough,” said Shanice.

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Barry who thought he had done quite well.

“All you did was curl up the sides of your lips. That’s not a smile". I remember reading about a brain doctor named Dr. Duchenne, who lived a long time ago. He used to give people small electric shocks on their faces to make the face muscles move".

"Dr. Duchenne worked out was that there’s a noticeable difference between a pretend smile and a real smile. A pretend to smile what you did. In a real smile, we also use the muscles in our cheeks and around our eyes".

Barry tried again. “You are getting there,” said Shanice. “From now on each morning and evening sit at your mirror and practice smile.”

A week later Shanice went to see Barry again. “Show me a genuine smile,” she said. Barry gave her a big smile, almost a grin and said. "This feel great and it easy with a bit of practice".

Shanice replied. “Scientists know that if you are unhappy and put a smile on your face, you feel happier. But if you start to look down and frown, you will become sad".

"Do you fancy having a laugh, Barry.” She asked

They both sat and looked in the mirror again. But they did not look at themselves, they looked at each other's reflection. Barry was showing a wide real smile.

Shanice went on, “Barry please open your mouth. Now put one hand on your tummy, the other on your heart". "Do what I do and notice how it looks and feels as your hand jiggle about all over the place”

Barry started to laugh at Shanice. He did it without realising he was laughing.

The two of them could not stop laughing and it louder and more fun all the time.

Now when Barry paints a white, red and black smile on his face for the circus, it follows his real one. Now his real eyes sparkle under the glitter painted ones.

Barry the clown who makes other people laugh can now laugh with them.

If this does not work for your child please contact me for an appointment.

girl dressed as clown learning to laugh
Learing to laugh. She is now happy clown like Barry. This girls smiles and laughs a lot
Child as clown learning to laugh
Another happy smiling child who is Learning to Laugh

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