Trying to get a baby laugh is a difficult task, isn’t it?! You tend to put on a clown face and get them all fancy toys, just to see those toothless smiles. Even a simple rotating fan or a flickering light is what gets her/him to giggle, till their tummies hurt. Sometimes, they can even just look at you and flash that adorable smile for no reason.
Now, this isn’t just the case with your own child. It can be your niece, relative’s child, best friend’s child, neighbors’ or even an unknown one on the street. To solve this puzzle, like always, there’s a really wild but really endearing scientific reason behind it. This will definitely leave you all with an ‘awww’, reflexively!
What science claims?
In 2015, a medical study was conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Diego to solve this enigma for many individuals and especially mothers. The riddle being: why and when do babies in the age category of 4 to 17 weeks flash their angelic smile.
The results publicized that these toddlers smile with a plan to bring out the hidden smile in their caregiver’s face. This is definitely one of the ‘aww’ moments I was talking about earlier. Is it because they believe in ‘my smile a day keeps a doctor away’? Or is it because they realize that one of the few major responsibilities they are going to have in the near future is to earn a smile on their parents and their dear one’s face, starting to practice it at a really young age? As we all know, mothers try to bring out the best in their children and one of them is their unavoidable smile.
Every pain disappears when your baby smiles
They will do anything to bring that curve right on their child’s face, no matter what their age is. A mother’s love is truly unconditional and indefinable! Turns out that their babies understand this logic way better. Babies tend to maximize the time their mother spends smiling and vice versa. This is why they are connected way better than anyone.
Babies ensure that for all those 9 months their mom spends in pain and carrying them within her - they will multiply that into how much ever smiles he\she can gift.
Maximize your baby's happiness
Now, moving onto how do these toddlers know and exactly maximize the time their mothers spend smiling? They use the concept known as ‘maximally efficient wait times’ in between their smiles. These tiny tots have surprisingly figured out that if they are not smiling directly at their caregiver - it affects their caregiver’s smile as well. So, in order to keep them smiling, they regulate and plan their own smiles accordingly. This guarantees a smile on their caregiver’s face throughout the day.
It’s kind of spooky that these kids plan things at a really young age and that too for someone else’s happiness right?
So, what do they exactly gain by making others smile? Actually, it’s just a technique they use to understand the hidden emotions or the psychology behind a smile, by sharing their joy with someone who is so dear to them. They do believe in ‘sharing is caring’!
When do babies relate to the joy of a smile?
When do they start to feel or relate to the joy within? It’s only after the age of nine months that your baby will begin to smile. Before that, the comical faces you put on, the most colorful toy or the really cute soft toy you got from the toy store - all are not going to get appreciated so widely.
Then, after a certain period, you’ll get those cute little smiles you craved for. Patience is the key! You’ll notice that joy he/she shows while interacting with the same old teddy they seemed to be least interested in a few days back. There is science behind this reason for his/her smile. According to a study published in the science journal “Infant Behavior and Development” in 2009, whenever a baby looks out for their mother or any dear one during their interaction with their stuffed toy, that phenomenon is referred to as an anticipatory smile. These anticipatory smiles are an advanced social skill, showing a highlight of their development in social skills.
Smiling baby, happy momma
When they look for you with a smile, during their busy interactions with their new friend, teddy or a doll - they are just looking out for someone to share their joy with. Aww! How cute is that to be acknowledged by your toddler?!
In the same study, researchers also found that if the baby starts to show this phenomenon at the age of nine months, he/she is more likely to feel more socially adjusted after growing up. How adorable are these tiny little creations of God! They never leave a chance to astonish you with their actions.