Hearing your baby’s laugh is one of the most remarkable moments during the first year. Whether it’s a chuckle or a full belly laugh, once you hear that sound for the first time, you’ll be doing all you can to hear it as often as possible.
Your baby has been experimenting with sounds since the beginning. Those coos, squeals, and gurgles have all been practice for that first eruption of laughter, which is a vital step in learning to communicate.
If you’re impatiently waiting for your baby to hit this milestone, you’re not alone. The sound of a baby’s laughter is music to their parents’ ears, and it’s a sign of healthy development. Learn when to expect your baby’s first laugh, how you can help them discover the sound, and what to do if they haven’t reached this milestone when expected.
How Milestones Predict Laughter
Babies change rapidly during their first year of life. The significant developmental stages during this period are called milestones.
The exact age each child will hit their milestones varies slightly, but these stages of development help serve as a benchmark. In that way, milestones can help you better understand when to expect certain behavioral and physical checkpoints to emerge.
Like smiling, laughter is another way your baby can communicate with you. Each new sound your baby makes comes from learning how the mouth and tongue move, so like any new skill, laughing takes a bit of practice.
It’s important to remember babies reach their milestones at different times. While charts are a great reference tool, you may find your baby acquires some skills earlier or later than expected. Milestones are estimations, and there is a range of normal in terms of when a baby will reach significant achievements.
When Do Babies Start Laughing?
Many babies will produce that first chuckle at about 4 months of age. However, you may notice your baby burst into laughter before or slightly after. In fact, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the typical range for babies to first giggle or laugh is somewhere between 4 and 6 months old.3
Like any new skill, laughter may take some time to perfect. But, as your baby gets older, their laughter will become more abundant. Also, while it’s no question your baby’s giggle is music to your ears, the sound likely pleases your little one, too.
How to Make Your Baby Laugh
Fear not: You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to tickle your baby’s funny bone. Your baby’s first laugh may come from their favorite toy or a pet doing something silly. Or just from looking at your smiling face.
Having fun with your baby is the best way to encourage laughter. Here are some ways you can get your baby giggling.
Your baby knows your expressions now and often tries to mimic them. Making a silly face, like opening your mouth wide or sticking your tongue out, may be unexpected enough to make your little one chuckle.
Who can resist a sweet baby tummy? Blowing raspberries on your baby’s belly is a great way to produce a belly laugh. All you need to do is to kiss your baby’s tummy while also blowing out. The sound and feeling is sure to elicit a giggle from your little love.
Don’t worry if your vocals are a bit dicey—your baby adores your voice. Songs with fun hand motions (think “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “The Wheels on the Bus”) are big hits with little ones, and there’s no better applause than laughter.
That little face is so kissable, but a regular smooch is what your baby expects. Switch it up by rubbing noses and see if your little one reacts with a gleeful chuckle.
Hey, where did you go? Hiding your face in your hands then shouting “peekaboo!” may surprise and amuse your baby, perhaps to the point of laughter.