Your baby’s first year is filled with all types of memorable events, from eating solid food to taking their first steps. 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 a way your baby communicates that you can understand. It’s a sign that your baby is alert, intrigued, and happy.
Read on to learn about the average timeline for babies to start laughing and what you can do if they miss this milestone.
Most babies will begin laughing around month three or four. However, don’t be concerned if your baby isn’t laughing at four months. Each baby is different. Some babies will laugh earlier than others.
Your baby’s first laugh may happen when you kiss their belly, make a funny noise, or bounce them up and down. There are also other 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 try using different noise makers to see what makes them laugh.
4. Fun games
Peek-a-boo is a great game to play when children start laughing. You can play peek-a-boo with your baby at any age, but they may not respond by laughing until they are four to six months. At this age, babies begin learning about “object permanence,” or the understanding that something exists even when you don’t see it.
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, there is no need for concern.
Some babies are more serious and don’t laugh or cackle as much as other babies. This might be OK, especially if all they’re meeting their other developmental milestones.
Focus on the entire set of age-appropriate milestones, not just one. If, however, your baby hasn’t reached several milestones in their development, it’s worth speaking to their pediatrician.
Here are some of the 4-month milestones you can look forward to:
- spontaneous smiling
- following moving things with eyes
- watching faces and recognizing familiar people
- enjoying playing with people
- making sounds, such as babbling or cooing
If you’re 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 is 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 your baby’s doctor to recommend further evaluation. There may be therapies to help your baby develop more in pace with other children their age.
Laughter is an exciting milestone to reach. Laughing is a way for your baby to communicate with you. But remember that each baby is unique, and they develop at a pace unique to them. Resist comparing your child to another one of your children or to another child.