Your Baby & Laughter

The Upside of Laughter

Throughout life, laughter can bring serious rewards. Studies show that most people value a sense of humor as a trait they would like to possess, and one they look for in friends and mates. If you're not a natural comedienne, try this: "When I blow raspberries on my 15-month-old's belly, he laughs so hard he usually gets the hiccups!" says Jennifer Yacoub, of Newark, Delaware. With young kids, it's a surefire laugh-getter.

Making Baby Laugh

  • For newborns to 12 months, try: gently blowing on hair or face, blowing on baby's belly, peekaboo, gentle tug-o'-war with a toy, funny voices and facial expressions.
  • For ages 1 to 2, add: chase games (I'm gonna get you!) or race games (You can't catch me!) and silly antics (pretend to put baby's socks on her ears or mittens on her feet).
  • For ages 2 to 4, add: nonsense rhymes, silly songs, and simple jokes.
  • For ages 0 to 100, try: laughing, freely and often. It's contagious!

Did You Know?

Try to tickle your newborn, and you'll discover that he doesn't laugh. Why isn't he ticklish? Maybe it's because he doesn't understand that other people are separate from him, says child development expert Lawrence Kutner, PhD. If you've ever tried to tickle yourself, you know it doesn't work. "But within the first few months, babies become ticklish, so one theory is that this may be a marker of the child realizing that other people are separate from him," says Kutner. However, he adds, we can't confirm this because "infants make lousy interview subjects."

Marguerite Lamb, a mother of two, lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, April 2007.

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