Don't Forget to Laugh!

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Tips to encourage a sense of humor in babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Do you remember your baby's first smile?

Not that newborn smile you get while they're sleeping (you know, the one where you're like, "Did he just smile at me or is it gas?"

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The first smile and giggle when you accidentally tickle their neck while wiping the drool off (yep, true story).

Humor, smiling, and laughing is a part of early development. It's one of the first things that babies do naturally, typically around 8-10 weeks.

According to Mary L. Gavin, MD of, we often think of humor as a part of our genetic makeup, but a sense of humor is actually a learned quality that can be developed in kids.

Although kids can start developing a sense of humor at a very young age, their humor changes as they develop.

Here are some quick tricks to better understand your child's humor at each stage of development:

  • Babies- Your baby knows when you're smiling and are happy. They enjoy funny noise and faces and are able to sense your joy and happiness and will often imitate you. Tickling will often give some giggles as your baby is highly responsive to physical stimuli.

  • Toddlers- Your toddler appreciates physical humor, like peek-a-boo or an unexpected tickle. They will also find rhymes and nonsense words funny as their language skills develop. Around this time your toddler also enjoys trying to make you laugh so be sure to laugh at their (potentially unfunny) jokes.

  • Preschoolers- As your preschool understands the world a little better, they will enjoy finding humor in a picture where something not quite right (like an ice cream cone hat). Of course, as they become more aware of bodily functions (and what gets a reaction out of you), preschoolers also test out some bathroom humor.

Let's pass along some smiles! What makes your child laugh the most?

If you liked this post, don't miss: Managing Toddler Tantrums


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