You can make humor part of almost any daily activity you do with your child, whether it's taking a bath, eating lunch, or driving the car, according to Louis Franzini, PhD, author of Kids Who Laugh: How to Develop Your Child's Sense of Humor (Square One Publishers, 2001). Here are a few great ways to get the giggles together:
Birth to 12 months
- Funny faces: Scrunch up, bug out your eyes, stick out your tongue. At first your child's laughter will be in response to you, but in time he will try to imitate you.
- Peekaboo: This is thrilling for babies because there is a brief threat -- Mom or Dad disappears (the threat) but quickly reappears (the surprise).
- Silly sounds: Make up your own or imitate your child's noises while smiling and laughing, which defines the behavior as funny. Whistling or humming are good choices too.
- Wacky songs: Sing a well-known song like "Pop Goes the Weasel." Once your child is familiar with the song, you can pause dramatically before singing the "POP!" Your child will anticipate the pause, feel the comedic tension, and laugh loudly when the punch line arrives. You can also say "POP!" louder than the other words for added effect.
Ages 1 to 3
- Add-ons: Sing any well-known nursery rhyme and add nonsense phrases like "in the tub" to the end of every line. The surprise is funny to your child, who is expecting to hear the familiar lines: "Rock-a-bye baby... in the tub! On the treetop -- not in the tub!" Hilarious!
- Crazy animal sounds: Pretend that certain animals make the sounds of other animals. For example, the cat goes "moo" and the horse goes "cock-a-doodle-doo." Do as many as you can together.
- Rhyming names: Make up funny rhyming names for friends, relatives, or pets -- for example, "Silly Billy" or "Bitty Kitty." Kids this age will laugh heartily.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.