Laughter Is a Serious Matter – Bright Starts™ Introduces the Baby Laugh Index

Campaign encourages fun and laughter in infants with new toys and budding research

Bright Starts(TM) introduces a fun new metric, the Baby Laugh Index(TM), in tandem with the launch of three new toys designed to inspire laughter. The inspirations for the focus on laughter are the three new baby toys from the Bright Starts Having a Ball(TM) collection: 3-in-1 Step ‘N Ride Lion(TM), Hide ‘N Spin Monkey(TM) and Jungle Fun Ball Climber(TM). Teaming up with Gina Mireault, Ph.D., professor of psychology and counseling behavior sciences at Johnson State College and researcher of humor and emotional development in children, Bright Starts seeks to emphasize the importance of laughter in infant development.

“With this campaign and these toys, we wanted to start a conversation with parents,” said Kids II senior marcom manager, Kyra Mitchell Lewis. “The Baby Laugh Index, or B.L.I., is a tongue-in-cheek ‘measurement’ that’s really meant to remind parents that fun comes first. At the same time, we also recognize that there is a developmental aspect to laughter. And that’s why we asked Dr. Mireault to share her knowledge.”

Introduced by Bright Starts at the 10th annual BlogHer Conference in San Jose, California, Dr. Mireault gave a presentation about the development of laughter and humor in infants and their impact on development. Dr. Mireault’s research indicates that in babies, laughter is essential for communication and is useful in forming attachment between baby and parents.

She said, “My findings indicate that laughter and humor are critical to infant development in several capacities. Infants thrive when they get to play and engage with their parents.”

In the presentation, Mireault spoke about the details of her observational studies and what parents should keep in mind:

    —  Laughter is “hard-wired” into human development and emerges well before  speech, typically around four months of age.
    —  By five months of age, infants will laugh at absurdity in the social   environment, which they can detect all by themselves.
    —  Infants are more likely to laugh with someone than just at an object,  proving that caregiver engagement is essential for laughter development.
    —  Laughter and play are the basis of some of the most important learning   experiences in infancy and childhood.
    —  Babies have a built-in capacity for humor that involves a complex   psychological system of neural, cognitive, behavioral, emotional and
        social components.
“Based on what we know, the best way parents can help foster humor and laughter development in their baby, is simply to play with them,” said Mireault. “Because engagement is key, parents should look for toys that will help them play too! Toys that are versatile and have different ways for parents and baby to engage are good options.”

Bright Starts’ latest toys from its Having A Ball(TM) collection are all multiuse toys designed for laugh-out-loud fun. The 3-in-1 Step ‘N Ride Lion(TM), Hide ‘N Spin Monkey(TM) and Jungle Fun Ball Climber(TM) each come with a set of brightly colored balls. All of the new additions by Bright Starts feature age-appropriate benefits and are packed with tons of fun including light-up buttons, ball play, melodies and sounds.

The 3-in-1 Step & Ride Lion, Hide & Spin Monkey and the Jungle Fun Ball Climber are each sold for $39.99 at the following retailers: Toys “R” Us, and Buy Buy Baby. The Hide & Spin Monkey is also available at Target, Wal-Mart, Shopko, Meijer and Costco.

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