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How to Catch Your Toddler Being Funny on Video

Apr 9, 2008
Toddlers are great. They're often natural humorists, with jokes so utterly obscure you can't help but laugh... the first few times at least. There's also a complete inability to understand when a joke quits being funny, as in my daughter's first knock-knock joke:

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Banana pants! (Wild laughter)

That's the entire joke. Cute for a while but it took months to get her to understand why her friends no longer found it funny.

But so much of what they do comes out so innocently and natural, as parents try to hold back the laughter from catching an unintended innuendo, such as when my son declared an 8 foot long flexible pencil to be his 'hooker'. Utterly innocent, but you can imagine the jokes that created.

Too bad it was so hard to catch on video.

The challenge comes from when kids understand what the camcorder does. They no longer behave so naturally, and you have to drag the jokes back out of them, which is rarely as good as when they just did it naturally.

Sometimes prompting does work pretty well. Some kids love being caught on film and will gladly clown around for the camera.

Others quickly become self conscious or want only to see what the camera sees. It can be hard to get them back to being their natural, hilarious selves.

I've had some luck with simply sneaking up on my kids. If they don't hear the camera being turned on or see it coming, I can catch them some of the time. Things can shut down quickly if they catch on, of course.

Teamwork also helps. Get both parents involved. Whoever's playing with the kids as they get crazy keeps the kids busy while the other runs for the camera and gets things going. This can also help to keep the fun going even as the kids catch sight of the camera, as you may be able to distract them back to playing.

A further challenge comes from having multiple kids. Sometimes the one you aren't trying to film will suddenly start playing very loudly to distract attention from the one who was doing something so darn cute you just really wanted to remember it. It may take a bit of teamwork to convince the one child to quiet down and wait for his or her turn as the other is filmed. If you work it just right, you may get two funny films instead of one.

If you can't catch them on film, the next best thing is to write it down or just share it with your friends. Your fellow parents probably have plenty of crazy kid stories they'd love to share with you too.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.in-mother-words.com/ for parents to share the funny things their kids do. Submit your funny pictures, videos or parenting stories at her site and share with your fellow parents.
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