Babies often seem to instinctively know when a frazzled parent needs some comic relief. For some babies, it may take extra coaxing to be rewarded with an enthusiastic grin. Here are 11 things that are sure to make your baby smile!
This classic is usually a favorite for babies. Use his favorite blanket, hide behind a piece of furniture, or do it the old-fashioned way and just use your hands. Whatever the way, you're sure to see lots of smiles from your little one.
It's no secret that babies crave touch. Gently blowing raspberries on those tiny hands, feet and belly are the perfect way to make a baby smile. Before long, you'll realize how influential those raspberries were when your baby starts making the "razzing" sound on her own.
3. Pretending to Eat Those Fingers and Toes 3 of 11
For some reason, like being on the receiving end of raspberries, most babies absolutely love it when a parent nibbles on their feet, fingers, or neck. The love of nibbling often lasts well past infancy. Children as old as 2 even enjoy a good toe nibbling every now and then.
Babies are attracted to the wondrous magic of bubbles, and who can blame them? If you've ever attended a parent-child class you've witnessed firsthand how babies will sit transfixed as the instructor blows bubbles at them, and many will even be inspired to reach and crawl toward the sparkly substance. Better yet, what parent doesn't get stress relief from blowing bubbles, and they provide cheap entertainment that your baby will love.
The more exaggerated the face, the better. Babies love attention, and making faces at them, no matter how silly, only reinforces that. There's a reason so many parents work hard to master the art of silly faces after their babies are born. Even something as common as a sneeze can put a smile on an infant's face.
There's a reason why the "Tickle Me Elmo" doll sold out at stores several holiday seasons ago. Cross a cheerful, brightly colored stuffed animal or puppet with a built-in silly song and dare your baby not to laugh.
Babies love music and songs, and they love them even more so if it becomes part of their daily routine. "Repetition is the key to bonding," says Dr. Natalie Geary, a pediatrician in New York City. "Babies like to see, do, and hear the same things so they can feel less anxious and can learn to anticipate the pleasurable experience. If you smile and act delighted by a song or game, and repeat it over and over, eventually they will too."
Along the lines of children's television characters, it often seems that family pets are a surefire way to make Baby smile. "Cuddling and hugging my daughter has always been like trying to hug a porcupine—she was always more of a self-entertainer," says Allena Tapia, a mom from Michigan. "The funny thing is, it was always animals that got her happy and smiling, even as a wee bitty baby. If we visited somewhere that had a dog or cat, she was quite content to watch and smile at it from her seat."
"This week, my son is enamored with pig noises," says Jessica Brockmole, a mom from Scotland. "If I oink like a pig, he'll giggle up a storm. When she was a baby, my oldest would smile every time Daddy trumpeted like an elephant or made monkey noises (complete with hopping around and scratching his armpits). I remember many sessions at the photographer getting pictures taken for the grandparents with my very reluctant husband hopping around and making monkey noises behind the photographer's shoulder." Try it!
Gentle tickling will usually prompt a smile from your baby, and this is also related to the importance of touching as a bonding ritual. "Touch is very important in that it lets the baby know their caregiver is there, and safe and familiar," Dr. Geary says. Focusing on your baby playfully with tickling is another way to reinforce the fact that you are there for your baby no matter what.