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We sometimes make our 7 months old baby laugh. And, at these moments he laughs a lot, which we think is good for his development. However, I want to support this claim with some empirical research findings.

I wonder if there are any scientific studies on this topic?

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    I don't have time to research this for a full answer, but there's a ton of research on laughter in babies. This TedTalk might be a good place to start looking, or some of the references in this paper on parental affect might also be good places to look. There's no question that it's good for development to laugh - emotional, if not intellectual, development for sure. Someone may just need to find the studies for you.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 16:40
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    One note though - tickling induced laughter is a bit different from other things, from what I've seen. Tickling laughter is a reflex, and can actually accompany feelings of pain or unhappiness but still include laughter - not always, or not even often for most kids, but do be aware it's different from laughter brought on by an emotional state or a reaction to something they perceive visually or orally.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 16:41
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    Consider doing this just before the diaper change, rather than just after; bladder control may not really be there yet.
    – WBT
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 17:10
  • "We sometimes make our 7 months old baby laugh..." How do you do that? Peek-a-boo? Funny faces? With toys? Tickling? It matters. Thanks. Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:13
  • A bit of a reframe: laughing, as opposed to what? Crying? Not engaging your child? Avoiding emotion altogether? Doing things they don't like? Depending on what it is you're trying to home in on, you're going to get a different answer.
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 12:32

2 Answers 2

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As a parenting coach, I believe that laughter plays a significant role in a baby's development. While there may be limited scientific research specifically focusing on the effects of laughter on infants, I have witnessed its benefits firsthand. Laughing during playful interactions not only brings joy and happiness to babies but also contributes to their emotional well-being. It creates a positive atmosphere and helps build a strong emotional bond between babies and their caregivers.

However, it's important to strike a balance and be mindful of excessive laughter. While laughter is generally beneficial, it is crucial to pay attention to a baby's responses. Too much excitement can potentially overstimulate a baby, leading to fatigue or irritability. As a parenting coach, I advise parents to observe their baby's cues and provide support and comfort when needed. It's essential to create a safe and nurturing environment where laughter can flourish without overwhelming the baby.

While scientific studies on the specific benefits and potential harms of laughing a lot for babies may be limited, laughter is considered a natural and positive aspect of human development. It promotes social engagement and helps babies develop a sense of joy and happiness. Laughing together with your baby strengthens the parent-child relationship and contributes to their healthy social development.

As a parenting coach, my recommendation is to incorporate laughter into your daily interactions with your baby. Find joy in the little moments and engage in playful activities that bring smiles and laughter. However, always be attuned to your baby's needs and adjust the level of stimulation accordingly. Remember, each baby is unique, and what may be enjoyable for one may not be the same for another. Trust your instincts, provide a nurturing environment, and enjoy the beautiful moments of laughter and connection with your little one.

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In medical terminology how people (including children) look and behave would be called how they're 'presenting'. A healthy appearance and healthy, normal behavior would be called 'presenting as normal', which is an indicator, not cause, of good health.

One of the reasons there likely isn't much research on this topic is because laughter is an outward behavior (and indicator) with minimal links to physical function or health. In other words, most researchers wouldn't consider this a very important question, and it would also be difficult to decouple any impacts of laughing with the quality of the environment causing that laughter.

So as an indicator, if your child is laughing with joy regularly (note the word joy, as the other answer suggests there are other types of laughter) that's a sign that they're living in a secure and warm environment, with strong attachments. It would be an outward sign that development is going well, not a major (note the word major) cause of development outcomes.

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