Laughter is an odd thing. It's involuntary -- and it sounds funny, like a silly cousin of coughing! But humans generally develop along the same path. The twists and turns that our unique milestone journeys take on the way to adulthood have some universal similarities, and laughter is one of them.
When do babies laugh?
Babies start to laugh between 3 and 6 months old. This is a large range, but it's really driven by personality, with some babies enjoying more stimulation than others and some babies showing reactions on their faces more than others.
Is my baby actually laughing?
First laughs might sound almost like a hiccup. Babies must coordinate the muscles needed to emit a laughter sound and they're not used to doing it, so they are taken by surprise. It's like the laugh is escaping from their bodies!
Early laughter often occurs when a baby encounters a new or unique experience. (Almost like nervous laughter!)
A baby who laughs may be ready for a nap
Know this: The age-old expression "slap happy" doesn't always end well. Laughter in babies and toddlers can be a result of the inability to control their emotions.
As your little one arrives at a state of overtired or cranky mode, take it as a sign that it's time for a nap. A well-rested baby can laugh for the right reasons!
Teaching your little one about emotions -- and laughter
The Emotions Book is part of the Exploration Toolkit, designed to support older babies as they can sit independently and use their hands to practice fine motor skills. The Emotions book offers families an opportunity to look at different faces and introduce vocabulary for expressions and emotions.