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Laughter, whether it be a delicate titter or a tummy rumbling guffaw, is a major milestone for your baby and can offer reassurance that your child is developing critical emotional and social capabilities. Generally, the first laugh occurs around the 3-4 month mark. However, these laughs may not necessarily be due to a full understanding of the situation. He or she has just stumbled upon a novel sound for them and will soon want to continuously make it regardless of whether or not something is actually funny. This raises questions though, such as when do babies fully understand jokes and when is the ability to make jokes gained?

Shared humorous interactions between you and your tot are the perfect tool for building secure attachments. Among adults, there is a lot of literature linking humor to increased intimacy, emotional attachment, and greater trust.[1],[2],[3] The corresponding literature for infant humor is small, but there are indications that infants are eager to laugh and form connections through laughter. Studies have suggested that attachments may be related to how often a baby laughs and that humor can have influences upon a baby’s temperamental qualities.[4]  A 2001 study conducted by Vasudevi Reddy found that 8 month old infants would join in on the laughter of those around them despite not actually being involved in the conversation. This implicates them as active listeners and who eager to join in on the fun.

Babies also strive to make you laugh as well. It may not necessarily be clever or witty by our standards, but they quickly get better. It was found that most infants were reported to make others laugh through repeating actions that had elicited laughs from others previously.[5] However, over time your little one’s humor will become more refined through picking up on techniques that adults use to make others laugh. The perception of humour does not arise until 18 months when children are able to engage in symbolic play — the ability to use objects, actions, or ideas to represent other objects, actions, or ideas as play.[6],[7]

Laughter is not only part of their emotional and social development, but also part of their intellectual development. Humor is essentially an intellectual playtime for children to explore emotions and social interactions through a variety of tactics. Whether it be wordplay or making an absurd face, babies are gradually gaining a better understanding of the world by engaging in more abstract thinking through symbolic play.

While laughter may not necessarily seem like a behavior that is as important to watch out for as speaking or walking, laughter is as indicative of development as are gaining creativity, social skills, emotional skills, and intellectual skills.


[1] Hampes, William P. “Relation Between Intimacy And Humor.” Psychological Reports 71.1 (1992): 127-30. Web.
[2] Hampes, William P. “The Relationship Between Humor and Trust.” Humor, 1999. Web.
[3] Hampes, William P. “The Relationship between Humor and Trust.” Humor – International Journal of Humor Research 12.3 (2001): n. pag. Web.
[4] Mireault, Gina, John Sparrow, Merlin Poutre, Brittany Perdue, and Laura Macke. “Infant Humor Perception from 3- to 6-months and Attachment at One Year.” Infant Behavior and Development 35.4 (2012): 797-802. Web.
[5] Reddy, Vasudevi. “Infant Clowns: The Interpersonal Creation of Humour in Infancy.” Enfance 53.3 (2001): 247. Web.
[6] Shultz, T.R. “ A Cognitive Developmental Analysis of Humor. In A.J. Chapman and H.C. Foot (eds.), Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research, and Applications. London: John Wiley & Sons.
[7] McGhee, P. “Development of the Sense of Humor in Childhood: A Longitudinal Study.” In P.E. McGhee & A.J. Chapman (Eds). Children’s Humor (pp.213-236). New York: John Wiley.



Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to raising a bilingual child. One of these misconceptions is that being bilingual may confuse your infant.[1] In actuality, plenty of studies have shown that dual languages aren’t confusing at all because infants can pick up differences in the pitch and tone in differing languages days after their birth.[1] Nor does being bilingual cause speech delays as most people are lead to believe.[1] A recent paper studied bilingual and monolingual children of similar age to measure the size of their vocabulary pool. After pairing words with similar meanings between the two languages, it was found that bilingual children had a vocabulary pool twice the size of a monolingual child, but knew about the same amount of words. [2] With that being said, with a larger vocabulary, it can be common for children to mix the languages within one sentence, but fret not because as they become more familiar and comfortable with both languages, your child will be able to better separate the two! [1][3]

How can YOU help your baby be bilingual? It is important to expose your child to both languages as much as possible. Due to the fact that there is no exact time frame to teach your child another language, you can essentially start exposing them to their second language at any age! However, some studies recommend that you teach your baby the primary language between birth and 3 years, then the secondary language anywhere between age 4 to puberty for optimal language learning and retention.[5] Within those time periods, you can provide an environment that allows for your baby to hear both languages as casually and as often as possible.[3] You can do this through  television shows, electronic toys or a simple conversation between adults. By doing this, you allow for your child to process how the languages sound.[4] As you would with the primary language, you can also teach your baby a word at a time by pointing to certain objects and naming them in the secondary language so that they can begin to associate the secondary name with the object![4]

It may also help if you designate places or people to speak the primary and secondary language.[3] Some examples of this would be to speak the secondary language only at home and promote speaking the primary language everywhere else.[3] One other example of this would be having one parent speak the primary language and the other parent speak the secondary language so as to expose your baby to both languages with less confusion between you and your spouse.

It is never too late to teach your child a new language![1] So go out and buy those bilingual toys and start planning which parent is speaking which language with your baby- the sooner the better!


[1] BabyCenter (n.d.),; “Raising a bilingual child: Top 5 myths” Web.
[2] MedicalXpress. 2011,; “Bilingualism doesn’t hamper language abilities of children with autism: research” Web.
[3] ScienceNordic 2012,; “Make your baby bilingual” Web.
[4] Parents, (n.d.), teaching-second-language/; “Bilingual Babes: Teach Your Child A Second Language” Web.
[5] MedicalXpress 2015,; “What clinicians need to know about bilingual development in children” Web



It’s never too early to read to your child. While your baby may not be able to follow along with the story, just listening to your voice will provide an important head start on language development. Reading to your child can give an added boost to your baby’s cognitive abilities. Here are five reasons that reading is important for your little one’s development:

1. It creates a love of reading.

The intimate time spent with your son or daughter while reading a bedtime story will create positive associations with reading. This will build the foundation for a love of reading that will become even more important once school-age is reached. Reading allows the acquisition of new knowledge from books rather than just trying to acquire meaning from pictures alone.

2. It will make learning to read later easier.

Reading exposes your baby to a larger variety of words than one would find in everyday conversation. Researchers have found that the more words an infant is exposed to, the easier it will be to learn to read in the future.[1] With a third of children entering kindergarten without the skills needed to read,[2] it is all too important that you do your part to help decrease this deficit by ensuring your child has the necessary skills.

3. It encourages speech and language development.

During infancy, it is more important to do activities that will encourage a child’s understanding of words rather than their expression of words.[2]  But don’t worry because understanding of those words will eventually lead to expression of those words. The inflections and intonations of your voice will help engage the areas of the brain responsible for language understanding and the production and growth of neural connections.

4. It promotes parent-child bonding.

Reading is a one-on-one activity that builds a strong connection between you and your baby. Full attention is what your tot loves. A study focusing on infants in the neonatal intensive care unit found that close to 70% of the parents of those infants indicated that reading helped them feel closer to their child.[3]

5. It builds memory and vocabulary.

Reading allows children to come into contact with uncommon words, thus expanding their vocabulary beyond only words that are found in typical verbal conversations. Vocabulary and language skills have been linked to higher intelligence. Each time a baby hears a word uttered, it builds their memory and creates a stronger connection between the sound of the word, the definition of the word, and common context of the word.
Reading equips your youngster with a wide variety of skills that will be beneficial for life. It will stimulate creativity and expand imagination with fun tales of the unknown. Reading should be part of your daily routine of activities with your baby in order to bolster their learning and further develop bonding between the two of you.


[1] Hart, B., and T. R. Risley. “Promoting Productive Language through Incidental Teaching.” Education and Urban Society 10.4 (1978): 407-29.
[2] National Survey of Children’s Health 2011–2012,; and AAP Policy Statement, “Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice”
[3] Lariviere, Janice, and Janet E. Rennick. “Parent-Infant Interaction During Reading Questionnaire.” PsycTESTS Dataset (2015)