All babies love to laugh. Pull a silly face and youll be rewarded with a wonderful giggle. But at what stage does he learn he can make you laugh too?
Children very often discover humour by accident, says chartered psychologist Nicola Barber. He may be playing with a toy on his highchair, then drop it. By the amused reaction he gets he realises by doing something in a slightly off-key way, hell get an enjoyable response back.
To really understand humour he needs to be old enough to predict whats going to happen next. For example, in a simple game like peek-a-boo he knows that even though youve gone away youll come back, says Nicola. Therefore hes made a prediction and its come true. Once your childs raised his first laugh hell be hooked. The release of endorphins in the brain when he laughs will make him feel good and help him and you feel relaxed.
5 EASY STEPS for sharing books with him
Reading aloud to your child is one of the best things about being a parent
- Store three or four books on a low shelf and put him in charge of getting them out and putting them back. Too many and the choice will be overwhelming for him.
- Read when youre both relaxed and in a good mood. Stop if he gets restless and try again later. Give him a cuddle the comfort of being on your lap is all part of the reading experience.
- Show him the book, point to the pictures and read in an excited voice. Talk about the book. Make up your own words, have sing-songs, make animal noises and generally have lots of fun together.
- Let him hold the book if he wants to. Encourage him to turn the pages and dont worry too much about his books getting tatty just yet.
- Hell love repetitive books because hell be able to anticipate what comes next. This reinforces the connection between spoken language and written words, which will be a vital part of learning to read later in life.
Ask Prima Baby
Hes started hitting
My son Henry is 17 months and has started hitting us. Sometimes its a pat on the chest when hes excited, other times hell take an open-handed swing at us if hes tired or doesnt want something. Ive tried saying no and raising my voice, but he seems to fins the whole thing funny.
Alex Kolton, 40, from north London, mum to Henry, 17 months, and step-daughter Sarah, 18.
Jo Douglas, child psychologist, replies: Hes frustrated and the quickest way to express this is to act physically. Taking a swing at someone is very effective when you cant talk very well. As he starts to talk more you can tell him to say no when he doesnt want something, rather than swiping it. Each situation is different and so your reactions need to match the problem. If he hits you when hes sitting on your lap then immediately put him down and ignore him for a minute. If hes tired then cuddle him and get him to bed as fast as possible. Try to think about what youre expecting of him and work out how he might react.