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Baby Development & Laughing

author image Susan Landis-Steward
Susan Landis-Steward has been a print journalist and editor since 1985, writing for "The Reflector," "The Multnomah Village Post," "The Evergreen Messenger" and "The Oregonian." She has won numerous awards for her reporting and has been published in top academic journals. Landis-Steward has a Master of Science in writing from Portland State University.
Baby Development & Laughing
Happy babies make happy parents. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Few things delight parents more than finding ways to make their baby laugh. Parents of newborns may even hear laughing when there is none. But by the age of 4 or 5 months, your infant should be squealing with delight, laughing out loud and giggling at her own new-found communication skills.

First Laughs

Around the age of 4 to 5 months, your baby will start working on new ways to communicate. One of the most gratifying for both parent and child is laughter. Your child may be surprised the first few times he giggles or laughs, unsure of what that new noise is. Parents who respond with laughter of their own reassure the child that laughing can be a shared pleasure.

Making Baby Laugh

Babies love to interact with their caregivers, and any kind of age-appropriate roughhousing will make them smile and laugh. Tickling the baby, engaging in games of patty cake or clapping her feet together will elicit smiles and giggles. Babies are also learning to mimic and reflect their parents' expressions, and just the sight of your laughing face may be enough to prompt a belly laugh.

Baby Humor

While it will be years before your child can tell a knock-knock joke, young babies find simple things hilarious. At 4 to 5 months, your child is starting to enjoy funny sounds and new tactile experiences, and will often respond with a laugh. Try tickling, raspberries on the tummy or smacking your lips. Start teaching your baby animal sounds, and watch him laugh as you moo, meow, bark or roar like an elephant. Press on his cheeks, and teach him to make a "fish face." Your imagination and willingness to make a fool of yourself will bring that laugh to the surface.

Older Babies

Somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10 months, your baby will begin to develop object constancy. This means she now knows that when something or someone goes away, it still exists. This is the perfect age for games like peek-a-boo. According to Parents.com, your child is still learning about object constancy, and the act of hiding your face or a toy will create some tension and excitement in the child. When you reappear, or bring the toy out of hiding, baby will respond with laughter and smiles. You can also try simple hiding, behind a chair or under a table, and let her delight in "finding" you.

The Second Year

Once your baby becomes mobile, the range of things that will make him laugh increases. A rollicking game of chase or hiding and jumping out at your child is sure to get a laugh. Children this age also love to dance, especially if parents or siblings dance with them. Even burying your toddler in a pile of fall leaves can be amusing for both of you. Children this age may also enjoy throwing soft toys back and forth.

Because children this age are only starting to understand limits, your child may find a certain humor in negative behavior. This is the age when you tell your child "No," and he does it anyway. Even as he reaches for the forbidden object, he may sneak a peek at you and laugh. Be warned: If you laugh back, you may be reinforcing unwanted behavior.

Your child will now be able to make his own silly faces and noises, expecting you to laugh at him.

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