Your toddler’s sense of humor

Everyone likes to laugh. It’s human nature – and Baby is no different. Just as her brain continues to develop, so does her sense of humor. Interestingly enough, humans aren’t born with a sense of humor; it’s something we learn that evolves over time. As babies develop and grow, their definition of funny continues to change, often reflecting whatever they’ve been learning or thinking about.

People with good senses of humor tend to have good imaginations, and they’re often able to think unconventionally. Laughter relieves stress, brings people together, and helps people see the funnier side of life. All of which is all the more reason to get Baby to smile.

Why isn’t Baby laughing at my jokes?

Ouch! Don’t take it personally. Maybe you’re just not telling the right ones. At this age, Baby isn’t bound to understand a lot of the jokes that you find funny. And she is already too mature to laugh at the same things that she enjoyed months ago. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a jokester, you can definitely find ways to make Baby laugh, so keep trying!

What does Baby find funny? 

This varies from toddler to toddler, and you’ll have to do some searching to find out exactly what Baby likes. But at this age, there are a couple of things that are almost guaranteed to bring your toddler a chuckle.

  • Physical humor:  Baby has probably really started loving physical humor lately. This includes tickling, peekaboo, or slapstick humor. You could try playing ‘this little piggy’ with Baby, or pretending to fall down or even walk into something. The sillier, the better!
  • Verbal humor:  Because language is so often on Baby’s mind, she will start to appreciate verbal humor more and more. Complicated wordplay might still be a little bit beyond her, but silly words, saying things that rhyme, or even speaking gibberish may amuse Baby, and may even send her into a fit of giggles. As her sense of language develops further, she will start to understand more complicated jokes involving words, although she might not be quite ready yet.
  • Random humor – anything out of place or unexpected: Now that Baby is starting to understand the ‘rules,’ of the world around her, she will be way more entertained when they’re broken. You can try using a banana in place of a phone, putting your hand in a sock or pants on your head, or pretending that you can’t see Baby and are looking for her. Basically just surprise her with something out of the ordinary!

It looks like Baby is trying to make me laugh. Could this be true?

Is Baby trying to get your attention while grinning from ear to ear? Does she have a book on her head, or an oven mitt on her foot? Yes, it looks like she might be trying to joke with you! At this age Baby is starting to try and make you laugh, so even if the jokes aren’t very good, it might be nice for you both if you go along with it from time to time – it’ll make Baby’s day.

You don’t have to be the funniest person alive to make a toddler laugh. All you’re really required to do is enjoy yourself! Use this time to appreciate the changes in Baby’s cognitive development, and to see what jokes make the two of you laugh together. And who knows – you might get the added benefit of sharpening your own sense of humor, too.

  • “Encouraging your child’s sense of humor.” KidsHealth. Nemours, 1995-2106. Web
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