Tips & Tricks for Parents

Baby Laughter: How to make your baby smile

26 Sep, 2022

At what point does my baby consciously laugh?

The long-awaited baby smile is a big developmental step for newborns. However, this initially takes place as a reflex action. Doctors refer to this phenomenon as a so-called “angel's smile” which is triggered by a muscle movement or a light touch on the sides of the mouth.

Babies who laugh consciously learn this social interaction in the second month of life. The baby's smile is a clear sign that it is happy at the moment. This happens, for example, as soon as your newborn hears your familiar voice or when they observe a cherished object or see a familiar face. By the time your baby is between 3 and 4 months old, they will consciously smile to connect with you and other people.

From the age of four to five months, the baby's smile is often associated with happy noises and loud chuckles. A few weeks later, the baby's laughter can also be observed when tickled or in connection with games. However, baby's smile is no longer for everyone. Babies gradually learn to distinguish between who they are dealing with and who they consequently give their best smile to.

How can I make my baby laugh?

If your baby doesn't start smiling by themselves, you can encourage them to do so in many situations. To do this, you simply communicate with your newborn with a smile - you will see that at some point they will smile back as a matter of course. Sometimes it also helps to imitate your baby's body movements.

Another option is to make your toddler laugh with movements and games. Use the fact that your child already knows from the age of around nine months whether you are doing things wrong or not. The following ideas will most likely make your baby laugh:

  • Demonstrate fun games or moves. For example, by putting a pot on your head or making funny faces.
  • Make your toddler laugh with movements. For example by dancing, singing or fooling around with a hand puppet.
  • Show them funny noises and songs. Songs like "incy wincy spider" or “sleeping bunnies” are always popular. 
  • Humorous games will also make your baby smile. For example, you can tickle your baby or pretend to "steal" their nose.

What do I do if the baby doesn't laugh?

If your baby doesn't laugh or laughs only rarely, this is not automatically a cause for concern. In this case, you should pay attention to other signs that tell you that your little one feels completely safe. If your baby keeps eye contact regularly and snuggles comfortably in your arms, you can be sure that everything is fine. Happy children also "talk" a lot and like to do so, sighing happily or babbling incessantly.

If your child doesn't laugh or only laughs seldom for months and you're unsure, always consult your pediatrician. He will help you to find possible causes for the baby not laughing. In very rare cases, it could be a sign of autism. Sometimes it is just down to a developmental phase.