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When Do Babies Start Laughing And Why?
There is nothing as wonderful in life as the sound of a baby laughing. We have all been there before feeling that emotional high when our baby laughs for the first time. Of course, we wonder if it is something that we did to make them laugh.? We need to know because we want to keep them laughing. Of course sometimes that laughter can turn into coughing and spitting up all the food they have previously eaten. Then instead of joy, we feel guilt. Nonetheless, many people have asked why isn’t my baby laughing and when will they start. In this article, we will attempt to look at the reasons why babies start laughing and even more importantly answer the common question when do babies start laughing?
Laughter is a universal human behavior that brings joy, strengthens social bonds, and promotes cognitive development. The ability to laugh begins in infancy and continues throughout a person’s life. Understanding when babies start laughing and the underlying reasons behind this developmental milestone can shed light on early social and cognitive development. Let’s begin our look at answering this question with a clear and concise timeline
I. The Emergence of Infant Laughter
A. Timeline of Laughter Development
According to developmental milestones, the emergence of laughter occurs during the first few months of life. Years of research suggest that most infants start laughing between three and four months of age. Laughter in response to external stimuli, such as tickling or playful interactions, typically begins around three months. By six months, babies become more capable of initiating laughter themselves.
B. Biological Foundations of Laughter
These adorable Infants possess the necessary physiological and neurological components to laugh. We hate to use big words but in order to clearly define what’s going on it is the limbic system and particularly the amygdala and hypothalamus that plays a crucial role in emotional expression, including laughter. The activation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the release of endorphins contribute to the pleasurable experience associated with laughter. Those endorphins play a major role in our happiness for the rest of our lives.
II. Social and Emotional Factors
A. Social Interaction and Laughter
Did you know that laughter serves as a form of communication and social bonding between infants and their parents? Its social interaction, such as peek-a-boo games or playful tickling often triggers laughter in infants. The presence of a responsive and nurturing caregiver like a mom or dad enhances the frequency and intensity of infant laughter.
B. Development of Social Understanding
Laughter reflects infants’ developing social cognition and their understanding of the intentions and emotions of others. Our babies begin to recognize and respond to social cues, such as facial expressions and vocalizations, which can trigger laughter. Joint attention and shared experiences with moms and dads, grandparents, and siblings can contribute to the development of a shared sense of humor.
III. Cognitive and Developmental Benefits
A. Cognitive Stimulation
Laughter provides cognitive stimulation and helps infants explore their environment. Through laughter, infants learn cause-and-effect relationships, object permanence, and basic problem-solving skills. Playful interactions that elicit laughter enhance cognitive development and facilitate learning.
B. Emotional Regulation
Laughter plays a vital role in emotional regulation and stress reduction. Thats something that we carry with us into our teen years and adulthood. It allows infants to express and release tension, promoting emotional well-being. Laughter helps regulate cortisol levels, reducing stress and promoting a positive emotional state.
C. Social Learning and Imitation
Laughter serves as a mechanism for social learning and imitation in infants. Babies observe and imitate the laughter of others, learning appropriate social responses and cultural norms. Socially reinforced laughter facilitates socialization and the development of empathy.
Infant laughter is a fascinating and important aspect of early development. Understanding when babies start laughing and the factors that contribute to this milestone provides valuable insights into their social, emotional, and cognitive development. The emergence of laughter at around three to four months of age signifies the beginning of social interaction, emotional regulation, and cognitive exploration. As caregivers and researchers continue to explore the nature of infant laughter, it becomes evident that it is a powerful tool for promoting healthy development in the early years.
Bergson, Henri. “Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic.” Translated by Cloudesley Brereton and Fred Rothwell, Macmillan, 1911.
Caspari, Simone, et al. “Infant laughter reflects relationship quality.” Infant Behavior and Development
When Do Babies Start Laughing And Why?article published on BabyCareGuru.com© 2023
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