Your parent-child relationship changes once you hear your baby’s very first gurgle of delight. Your child will communicate what they find pleasurable, giving you an opportunity to forge a deeper bond.
The secret to making your baby laugh is to cultivate an environment of controlled excitement, with the parent as both the instigator of tension, but also acting as the path to safety as well.
You want to be a gentle, safe, threat to the baby. And then, like a kettle whistling if its pressure gets too high, you want your baby to cathartically release tension by laughing. This releases feel-good endorphins that courses through your child’s body, reduce the levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenaline)
And let’s not forget that a baby’s laughter is infectious – you’ll get an endorphin-high as well!
Let’s now discover a few simple methods that will make your baby gurgle with delight.
Peekaboo is a timeless classic. You can either lift up your hands to play, or use an item of clothing to shield your face.
The secret to a great game of peekaboo is to build a sense of imminent excitement; you don’t want your baby to know precisely when and how you will show your face. Do this by
- Randomizing the time it takes to drop your hands and say peekaboo. Making your child wait a few seconds longer can make their laughter much more intense.
- Show your face slowly with a long, drawn-out peekaboo, and follow up with something far quicker
- Subvert your baby’s expectations by saying “Boo!” or “I see you!” instead of “peekaboo!”
- Occasionally tickle your baby as well as saying peekaboo.
Chase Baby around the Room
This only makes sense if your little one is crawling or walking, but babies adore the sensation of a low-speed chase.
It’s important to invoke a sense of controlled danger – you get bonus points if you loudly proclaim “I’m chasing you” or playfully roaring. This causes a primal thrill that teases out laughter from your baby.
Instead of moving away, your child may also respond by running towards you and hugging you.
Gently Nibble Baby’s Cheek
In case it needs to be made explicitly clear, by nibbling your baby’s cheek, I don’t mean biting! This means gently pressing your lips against your child’s cheek, drawing in some of their skin and gently pressing while rubbing your lips from side to side. This is ticklish, and will probably make your baby giggle.
Your baby will also be overwhelmed by the sensation of their parent looming over them; your baby may paw at your face in response to the excitement.