I've heard a lot of people talk about how fussy their babies are. Parents rant and rave about incessant crying or their inability to soothe a cranky babe, but it is definitely more rare to hear a parent gushing over how excited their baby gets. "My son gets so excited that he squeals with delight when he sees our dog," is not a brag you read on social media very often. Focusing on the negative rather than the positive is pretty normal these days, but looking for these five signs your baby is excited might just make your day a bit brighter.
"Babies express excitement because they're constantly learning and growing," says Maureen Healy, The Emotionally Healthy Child, and child development expert at Growinghappykids.com. "Parents can play games like peekaboo, tickling, or tummy time (with appropriate developmental baby toys) to help their baby express their excitement constructively. The goal is for every parent to be engaged and a constant source of unconditional love (to the best of our ability, of course — we're all human!)."
No matter how your baby shows excitement, just knowing that they're experiencing the pure joy that comes with experiencing the world for the first time is priceless. Be sure to enjoy these five signs your baby is excited before they hit toddlerhood and throw a whole new set of behaviors at you.
1. Your Baby Wiggles
"Babies show excitement by wiggling and squirming," says Healy. "They're feeling lots of energy and don't yet know what to do with it." So, when your baby constantly moves their arms and legs or squirms around happily, they're not just showing off their killer dance moves. This is one way to know that your baby is excited about the world around them.
2. Their Face Lights Up
"Young babies also may open their eyes wider and make interesting facial expressions, which include smiling (after 4 weeks of age) to show they're feeling very interested in something or someone," Healy says. These faces may look ridiculous, but that's all the more reason to whip out your smartphone and capture this precious display of excitement before it's too late.
3. Your Baby Smiles
Healy notes that babies will start actively smiling after 4 weeks of age in order to express excitement. "After one month, they're smiling in response to what you're doing and what's happening in the outer world (for example, nice sounds, a big puppy, a big brother)," Healy says.
According to an article in Parents by Jessica Wohlgemuth, before that age, a baby's smile is a reflex or a response to an internal action like passing gas. While passing gas is exciting for parents of fussy babies, what's even more exciting is seeing a genuine grin of excitement on your little one's face.
4. They Make Sounds
"After 4 months, young babies may start to communicate vocally, which again is exciting," Healy says. Cooing, giggling, screeching, babbling, and a variety of other audible noises can all indicate that your baby is excited. While it may not make any sense to your ears, it is exciting for your baby to learn how to express themselves vocally and they'll probably experiment with all sorts of sounds before they actually start forming words.
5. They Engage In Play
"After 6 months, they tend to be excited to play hide-and-seek. The concept of being there, but not seeing them, is endlessly enjoyable and even exciting," Healy says.
When you play peek-a-boo or similar games with your baby, you may notice they exhibit some of the signs mentioned above like making noise or opening their eyes wide, which shows their excitement and leads to an engaging play session where they may continue to show excitement throughout. And who doesn't love a good game of peek-a-boo?