Is there anything more delightful than the laugh of a baby? That incredibly innocent sound of pure joy is enough to bring a smile to even the most exhausted of moms. Just one little chuckle makes it all worthwhile.
But sometimes we’re left waiting…and waiting. If you can’t wait to hear that little chortle, there are a few things that you’ve got to know. That’s why we asked development experts that one question on every new mom’s mind: When do babies laugh?
When Do Babies Start Laughing?
When do babies laugh? While each child is different, generally babies start to laugh when they reach four to five months old. If your little one isn’t laughing yet, it’s time to look at other developmental milestones (and try a few tricks to make baby laugh!).
What Ages Do Babies Start Laughing?
If you want a fast answer to when do babies start laughing, it’s generally around five months of age. According to the experts, newborns might giggle at as young as 12 weeks old. However, it’s not a reaction to humor (1).
While your little tyke might be splitting at the sides, it can be a random reaction. Newborns typically don’t process the information around them well enough to appreciate humor until four months of age.
While you might think that your 12-week-old is in a fit of laughter over something in particular, that’s not too likely. Little ones might laugh occasionally, but it’s unprovoked in many cases. Sorry, would-be comedians!
Once your little one does develop a sense of humor, they’ve got their own unique perspective. While we used to think that babies just laughed when they saw someone else laugh, that’s not true. After four months of age, babies have their own special sense of humor (2).
What Should I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Laugh?
Before anything else, take a deep breath. We get it. It’s easy to get caught up in what your baby should be doing.
But if you’re stressing about how to make a baby laugh, look at the full picture. Consider if your baby is meeting all of the milestones for his or her age. If you’re not hearing laughter yet, but everything else is on track, it’s okay.
By four months of age, the weight of your baby should have doubled from birth. Babies should have the motor skills to play with rattles and other toys. Look at all these indicators together.
Visiting your pediatrician for well-baby checkups should give you the reassurance they are on track for their milestones or spot any problems if they aren’t.
How to Make Your Baby Laugh
Looking for some tricks to make your little one crack up? Here are a few good ways to make baby laugh.
- Belly raspberries: That strange tickly feeling might be enough to get a giggle.
- Eskimo kisses: Another little gesture that might leave ‘em feeling warm and fuzzy.
- Funny faces: The best jokes are as simple as making a silly face. Go with it!
- Play peekaboo: Steal a trick from Grandpa’s playbook.
- Clowning around: Channel your inner Mr. Bean and go for simple slapstick fun.
- Watch a funny video: YouTube is great for simple and fun videos aimed at newborns.
- Pets: Animals are an endless source of joy. Get the dog running around or howling for family fun (or find a silly four-legged comedy show online).
- Get noisy: Use a noisemaker, bell, phone app, or anything that you can to make an unexpected and different noise.
- Tickling: Many littles ones are tickle-mad.
- Laugh: Laughter is contagious. Watch a silly video yourself and lighten the mood. Your baby loves to see you happy.
Just like adults, every baby is different. Some little ones don’t like tickling while others might be afraid of dogs. Be mindful and keep pulling more tricks out of your hat until you find the right one.
These commonly asked questions might clear things up for you.
Can a Baby Laugh At 2 Months?
Did you know that chimpanzees laugh? Scientists believe that laughter is a crucial social tool that is fundamental to cooperation and relationships (3). While we develop a sense of humor over time, we know how and when to laugh from an early age.
Babies can laugh from any age, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. During the first couple of months of life, babies lack the wiring to process stimuli and find humor (4). In other words, while a two-month-old might laugh, they’re not going to get your jokes quite yet.
What Sounds Make Babies Laugh?
Stimulation is essential to your baby’s development, and you play a major role. Simple mom-and-baby activities go a long way to make your baby laugh and encourage speech.
As moms, we get used to the buzz of a busy household and don’t always realize how loud it is. But babies are easily distracted, so if you want to engage your baby, cut down on background noise. When there are fewer sounds, newborns are more likely to engage — and laugh (5).
Any novel or unexpected noise might make your baby laugh. For an easy game, go high tech. We love Youtube videos and apps designed specifically for babies.
Whether it’s a train horn or a dog barking, new noises can be exciting and funny for babies.
Why Does My Baby Not Giggle?
Worried about why your baby isn’t laughing? In most cases, there is no cause for alarm. Laughter is one of many milestones.
It is critical to visit the pediatrician regularly to check the progress toward all of your baby’s milestones. There is no exact date that a healthy baby must start laughing. If your baby isn’t giggling yet, bring it up at the next checkup.
As you wait for that next doctor’s visit, start experimenting at home.
One of the core factors of laughter is togetherness. A study found that kids laugh eight times as much fun watching a funny cartoon in a group. Even when the kids watched the show solo, they tried to make eye contact with researchers when a funny bit came on.
Not ready to organize a room full of laughing babies? That’s okay, you can watch something funny yourself. Let your baby experience other people giggling and having fun.
Can You Tickle Babies?
Tickling is one of the best ways to make baby laugh. Any fun interaction is a good starting point, whether it’s tickling or goofing around. Be natural and take cues from your baby to see if yours is a fan of tickling.
According to a baby laughter scientist (yes, that’s a thing!), the secret to making babies laugh is simple. All your little one needs is company. More than anything else, being around people is what makes babies giggle (6).
The Bottom Line
Laughing is one of many milestones. If your little tot is still developing his or her own unique sense of humor, give it time. If your baby’s development is generally on track, it’s only a matter of time.
So, when do babies laugh? When they are enjoying themselves! From four months of age, any given social situation or funny sound might make your little one laugh.
Bring out your inner comedian and have fun with it. A lifetime of laughter and joy is on the way.