In the first year of life, early laughter is often a reaction to a primary caregiver. This is a great example of “serve and return.” A six-month-old a baby will laugh at behaviors that are not typical. You may have seen a recent video clip of an infant laughing hysterically at his father who was ripping paper. Infants recognize behavior that is out of the norm and often react to the change with laughter. Many babies enjoy the game of peek-a-boo or other games that are unpredictable.
A jack-in-the-box toy or toys that pop up when a button is pushed can initiate a belly laugh from a baby. Pretend play is entertaining for most 1 to 1-and-a-half year old children who will make believe that an object is something else or will use it in a humorous fashion; putting a sock on his hand rather than his foot.
This early type of learning is important because play is a big part of brain development. Families and caregivers that reinforce laughter and humor are directly connecting to a child’s development. Humor can build a child’s vocabulary, reading skills and can assist with creative thinking.
Laughter is a happy sound; easily understood in every language. It is one early childhood developmental skill that you can easily reinforce and enjoy while you are doing it!
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