Pretend play also helps in less serious matters. By finding humor in play, a child releases tension and reclaims that elusive sense of personal power. Your child probably loves to catch you making a silly mistake. For a moment, she can feel smarter than you. In the same vein, a child delights in mimicking your authoritative voice and manner. Even just acting silly herself – making mistakes on purpose, falling down or pretending to be clumsy – can allow the child to feel more in control.Two other subjects that many children like to laugh about are sexual differences and bathroom matters. This kind of humor may drive you to distraction, but it seems to help relieve a child’s anxieties about these issues. In egging each other on to yet another toilet joke, children fin a sense of camaraderie among peers sharing the same uncertain feelings. And by finding amusement in a subject that began as a worry, the child learns a lesson in optimism.