When Do Babies Start Laughing? 7 Ways to Encourage the Giggles

There are certain moments of parenthood that stand out, and when your baby start laughing for the first time is one of those memories that tops the list.

For most parents, the first time they hear their baby laugh—one of those real, deep belly laughs that signal pure delight—is instant payback for all the sleepless nights and inconsolable crying sessions of the newborn days. 

When your baby laughs it’s a sign of joy, but researchers have found that simple laughter is a sign of some pretty complex development that’s going on in your baby’s brain. It’s not just that your baby is becoming more engaged and aware of the world around them, although that is certainly happening. Just as cooing and smiling paved the way for laughter, baby's first laugh is a step toward babbling and, eventually, speech. As your baby gets older, you’ll start to understand how every new milestone builds on previous development.

The Milestone of Laughter: When Do Babies Laugh for the First Time?

Around 4 months, your baby will hit the most delightful milestone: laughing. This marks the start of your baby being able to express joy and engage in social interactions.

Before babies start laughing, they have to reach another important milestone, social smiling. Unlike the short, random smiles of the newborn days that are a purely spontaneous reflex, social smiles are the glorious, gummy grins babies flash in response to external stimuli, like the sound of your voice or the sight of your face. Simply put, it’s when your baby starts smiling because they take pleasure in being around you. These social smiles are the foundation for more complex emotional expressions, and as your baby develops further these social smiles evolve into genuine laughter.

As a parent, you play a significant role in this evolution and when your baby's first laugh will happen. All those playful interactions you have with your baby—tickling their toes, making funny faces, or playing silly games—teach your baby to recognize (and respond to) humor and strengthen the bond with you that is the backbone of their emotional well-being.

All this everyday social interaction with your baby plays a significant role in your baby hitting interactive milestones like smiling and laughing. Moving your baby to a high chair encourages the development of laughter by exposing them to regular social stimulation. Having a seat at the table encourages them to join in on family meals, gives them new things to look at, and can lead to giggles, smiles, and other exciting milestones. This guide explains how—and when—to start using a high chair.

If you find yourself worrying “when will my baby laugh?”, take a deep breath and fear not! As with all milestones, don’t panic if your baby hits four months and isn’t laughing: all babies are different, and factors like temperament, sensory processing, and social environment all play a part in when babies start laughing. However, if you’re worried about a lack of response to stimuli or your baby’s overall development, talk to your baby’s pediatrician.

Why Does a Baby Laugh?

Your baby’s first laugh can be triggered by many things: the antics of an older sibling, a frolicking pup, a game of Peek-a-boo, or a warm smile from a caregiver can be all it takes to make your baby erupt in a delighted peal of laughter. And while hearing your baby laugh is a joy on its own, just as exciting is knowing that this laughter is an early form of communication, signaling that your baby is starting to engage in a very real way with the world around them.

From a young age, babies learn to associate laughter with positive experiences and quickly understand that it’s a way to express their happiness and connect with their caregivers. At the same time, “communicating” through laughter strengthens the bond between parents and their infant and nurtures and encourages emotional development. 

You can encourage this vital connection and explore how to make your baby laugh by talking to your little one in an animated voice, making funny faces, or gently tickling their toes or tummy to stimulate the tickle response that develops around 4 to 6 months.

Tummy time is another opportunity to interact with your baby. Tummy time strengthens your baby’s neck and back so they gain the strength and motor skills they need for crawling. It’s also often a great approach to how to make babies laugh as a built-in time in the day to interact and play simple games that support developmental milestones and bring on the giggles.

How to Make Babies Laugh: 7 Ways to Encourage Your Little One’s Laughter

When your baby starts laughing, it’s a sign of healthy emotional and social development. Learn how to make your baby laugh more often with these seven ways to stimulate their senses: 

  1. Smiling and Making Silly Faces: Engage with your baby by making silly faces and animated facial expressions. It’s even more fun when you give them a front row seat to your performance in the MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing®, where they can comfortably enjoy parent-inspired motions while being entertained by you. 
  2. Interactive Play: Toys that stimulate your baby’s senses aren’t just fun—they actually encourage development and help your baby learn about the world. Give your baby plenty of interactive toys to keep their little mind active and happy. The Breeze® Go Playard provides a safe, spacious, and secure area for your baby to engage with their interactive toys, enhancing their sensory experiences and promoting laughter through discovery. 
  3. Gentle Tickling and Physical Play: When do babies become ticklish? Experts say somewhere between four and six months – just as their ability to laugh is kicking in. Want to bring on the laughter? Lay your baby down in the removbale bassinet of the Breeze® Plus Playard to keep them comfortable and contained while you play games like This Little Piggy—this gentle tickling game is almost guaranteed to bring on the baby giggles. 
  4. Playing Peekaboo and Other Games: There’s a reason games like Peek-a-boo and Patty Cake have stood the test of time for how to make a baby laugh: these simple games give you an easy way to engage with your baby and encourage laughter. 
  5. Singing Songs and Making Sounds: Your singing might not pack concert halls but to your baby, your voice is music to their ears. As you’re interacting with them, sing rhyme-y songs and make silly sounds to amuse your baby. 
  6. Reading Funny Books Together: Reading has so many benefits for babies, starting from the very first day you bring them home. Set up a reading nook or dedicated area in your home where you snuggle with your baby and read each day. Don’t be afraid to be a little over-the-top as you read, using silly voices and varied tones to entertain your baby and keep them engaged. 
  7. Mimicking Baby's Sounds: Babies are natural mimics, so make them laugh by mimicking them back—when they blow a raspberry, blow a raspberry at them; if they babble, repeat the same sounds. Chances are, your baby will find your mimicry hysterical and will burst into laughter every time.

Want more fun answers to the question of how to make babies laugh? Check out our article, Engaging Sensory Activities for Babies.

Enjoy Every Moment—and Every Milestone

Milestones including including when babies laugh for the first time are a big deal, but your baby will reach each one at their own pace. Be patient and make it a point to cherish every unique phase and change. And we want to hear about every moment! Share your baby’s laughs with the 4moms community by tagging us!

Remember, too, that wherever you are on your parenting journey, 4moms is here for you with our collection of 4moms Playards, including the Breeze® Go and the Breeze® Plus Playards, and the MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing® to help you create safe, stimulating environments that encourage your baby's first laugh and continued development.