Friday, September 12, 2008

The Importance of Laughing With Your Baby

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The Importance of Laughing with Your Baby

By Patricia Garza

Laughing and relaxing with your child, particularly babies and toddlers is essential in developing a healthy bond between caregiver and child. Studies in child development have proven children whose parents or caregivers do not interact with them and play with them, as well as speak to them do not develop the language skills needed to talk and they become emotionally unattached. Attachment in humans relates to “a special bond characterized by the unique qualities of maternal-infant or primary caregiver-infant relationships.” Children who are neglected or do not bond often end up with emotional scars and detachment issues that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. , states in his article, "Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children..."

“The systems in the human brain that allow us to form and maintain emotional relationships develop during infancy and the first years of life. Experiences during this early vulnerable period of life are critical to shaping the capacity to form intimate and emotionally healthy relationships. Empathy, caring, sharing, inhibition of aggression, capacity to love, and a host of other characteristics of a healthy, happy, and productive person are related to the core attachment capabilities which are formed in infancy and early childhood.”

It is unclear why some families find it hard to bond with their children, other than busy schedules, stress and fatigue. However, some other reasons parents may not bond with their child are substance use/abuse, abandonment either intentional or unintentional, such as the death of a parent. In extreme cases some children may be neglected and abused, or abandoned and left to raise themselves in the wild or locked in a room. These children are often called ‘feral children’. These children have no emotional bond or attachment to anyone and may never be able to emotionally connect with others. One such child is Danielle Crockett , found in her home in Florida in 2005 at the age of six and unable to speak.

Parents need to be aware of the need to show affection and bond with their child. Playing and laughing with your infant and toddler is crucial during the first few years of life. Not to mention can relieve stress in parent’s lives.

Here are a few tips to help parents take time to play and bond with your new baby or toddler:

  • Play lap games such as ‘horsey’ rides, pat-a-cake, etc.
  • Sing to your child Play with your baby
  • Tickle your baby Let baby play with you
  • Spend time with your baby
  • Read to your baby
  • Hug and kiss your baby gently
  • If able, nurse your baby, breastfeeding is highly recommended to develop a bond between mother-child immediately after birth; consult with a lactation consultant to avoid problems later-nursing takes time and patience; it is not for everyone but is best for baby nutritionally and physically.
  • Let your baby touch your face
  • Let your baby look into your eyes and see your facial expressions
  • Infant massage is another great way to bond with your baby
  • Dad’s can bond by giving baths, helping with feedings, burping the nursing baby along with all of the above ideas
  • For more ideas see this article on 8 Way to Boost Bonding with Your Baby.

In the end, laughing and bonding with your baby are crucial to a child’s development emotionally and physically. Laughing can relieve parental stress along with create a fun and pleasant environment for the baby/toddler. Children need to feel secure and know that their caregiver enjoys spending time with them and feels safe with them. They need to enjoy their parents and caregiver. So why not have some fun laughing and playing with your baby as they learn and grow!

Patricia Garza is a former elementary teacher who turned stay at home mom after the birth of her first son in 2004. Since 2005, Patricia became an online entrepreneur, freelance writer/editor and a mother again to her second son in 2007. You can read more from Patricia on her parenting resource blog at and her parenting site at

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As I read this, I rolled over in my mind the thing I do each day with my daughter. We cuddle, we talk, we laugh, we read and more. There is an inherent instinctive urge for me to do these things with her.

I know it must happen, but it so hard to imagine, and heartbreaking to think about, that not all babies get that same kind of interaction.

Great article, thank you.

Nice. Check this out...

I like your post, I have an 8 month old baby boy and we always hug, kiss and play with each other. That's why I decided to quit my job in order to focus on taking care of my baby.
Cant wait till he starts walking and talking.

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