From eating solid food to taking steps, your baby’s first year is filled with all types of memorable events. Each “first” in your baby’s life is a milestone. Each milestone is an opportunity for you to make sure your child is growing and developing as expected.
Laughter is a wonderful milestone to reach. Laughter is an easy form of communication that you can understand from your baby. It is a sign that your baby is alert, intrigued, and happy. Here, learn the average timeline for babies to start laughing and what you can do if they miss this milestone.
When Should Your Baby Start to Laugh?
Most babies will begin laughing around month three or four. Some babies will laugh earlier and some babies will laugh later. Do not worry if your baby is not laughing by the four-month milestone. Each baby is different.
4 Ways to Make Your Baby Laugh
Your baby’s first laugh may happen when you kiss their belly, make a funny noise, or bounce them up and down.
Cracking a joke won’t get you a laugh, but you can use several techniques to draw out a laugh from your little one.
1. Funny Noises
Your baby may respond to popping or kissing sounds, a squeaky voice, or blowing your lips together. These auditory cues are often more interesting than a normal voice.
2. Gentle Touches
Light tickling or gently blowing on your baby’s skin is a fun, different sensation for them. Kissing their hands or feet, or blowing a raspberry on their belly may elicit a laugh, too.
Objects in your baby’s environment, such as a zipper or bell, may seem funny to your baby. You won’t know what these are until your baby laughs, but trying different noise makers form time to time may get a laugh.
4. Fun Games
Peek-a-boo is a great game to play when children start laughing. Wait until your child is four to six months. At this age, babies begin learning about “object performance,” or the understanding that something exists even when you don’t see it.
When to Worry
- spontaneous smiling
- following moving things with eyes
- watching faces and recognizing familiar people
- enjoying playing with people
- making sounds, such as babbling or cooing
According to many milestone markers, babies typically laugh between months three and four. If the fourth month comes and goes and your baby is still not laughing, don’t worry. It’s easy to get caught up in a timeline.
Some babies are more serious and don’t laugh or cackle as much as other babies. This might be okay, especially if all their other developmental milestones are being met. Focus on the entire set of age-appropriate milestones, not just one. If, however, they seem to be missing several milestones in their development, it’s worth speaking with your child’s pediatrician.
Talk to Your Baby’s Doctor
If you are concerned that your child is not laughing or meeting other milestones, bring this up at your baby’s next wellness visit. As part of the visit, your doctor will likely ask you about all the milestones your baby may be meeting. If not, be sure to include these details in your conversation.
From there, the two of you can decide if you’d like to watch and wait for future developments or if you’d like to be recommended to an occupational therapist who may be able to help your baby develop more in pace with other children their age.
Just remember, babies develop at a pace that is unique to them. Comparing your child to another one of your children or to another family’s child will only serve to confuse and upset you.