Giggles and gurgles…a wonderfully infectious sound that brings about immediate smiles and giggles in return. When your baby starts giggling, you just don’t want it to end. You can spur baby on to continue giggling by tickling them, laughing along with them, or simply just making funny sounds at them. It’s just you and your baby in that moment – creating precious moments that last forever.
One of the first major milestones in an infant’s life is the so-called-6-week-smile. It provides the much-needed motivation for exhausted parents to persevere through the whirlwind of tasks and sleep deprivation. Oh, how a smile from a tiny little body gives us the fuel to keep going! It also stimulates more interaction and conversation from us (the parents) that in turn reinforces the behaviour of our infant. The smile eventually develops into giggles or laughs at around 4 months.
A study on the link between infant humour perception (between 3 and 6 months) and attachment at 12 months describes the timetable of humour development as such:
|Laughter in response to Physical Stimulation
|Laughter in response to Social Games
|Laughter in response to Visual Events
|Clowning (Creating absurd events)
This is roughly what we can expect from our little ones, but the frequency may vary according to your baby’s personality or how you cultivate and encourage these behaviours.
Researchers at the University of Bristol found that there are more that 20 types of humour that seem to emerge on a developmental timeline as young as 0 months. These types of humour indicators included copying jokes, chasing, and tickling, peek-a-boo style surprises, silly faces, misusing objects, to name a few. Researchers found that roughly half of the babies showed an appreciation for humour by 2 months old. Furthermore, by 11 months old, half of the babies that participated in the study began to experiment with making their own jokes. Not only did babies try to be creative, but they seemed to fixate on this newly acquired skill as they made repeated attempts at cracking jokes in three-hour increments.
Interestingly, babies under the age of 12 months appeared to be attracted to physical comedy more than verbal. So, peek-a-boo, chasing and tickling, funny faces and absurd use of common objects etc. would elicit more of a reaction/the biggest response from them.
“Babies start laughing before they can speak, and this delicious sound just may serve as a powerful source of human communication and connection" - Caspar Addyman, psychology researcher. There are few sweeter sounds in this world than a baby's laugh.
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