4 months old: Social development

4 months old: Social development

Your baby’s social development at 4 months old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Social development allows children to build harmonious, positive relationships with others. As kids develop socially, they learn how to communicate and manage their emotions, consider other points of view before acting, resolve conflicts, cooperate, and participate in society. A child’s temperament, primarily determined by genetics, influences how they interact with others from an early age. However, they continue to develop social skills as they grow, learning from personal experiences and the people around them—namely, their parents and family members.

Social development: 4 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby is becoming increasingly social and loves when you pay attention to them.
  • They make eye contact when feeding or during diaper changes.
  • They use their voice and do things like cough or click their tongue to get your attention.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • Your baby responds to your touch and enjoys cuddling, both of which strengthen your bond.
  • They make certain social gestures, such as waving or clapping, when they see familiar faces.
  • They begin to learn that by raising their arms, they can signal that they want to be picked up.
  • They laugh out loud when tickled, when you play peekaboo with them, or when an adult imitates the sounds they make.
  • They smile and make sounds when they see a real face, but not when in front of a reflection.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Prefer certain toys to others.
  • Enjoy looking in the mirror and smiling at their reflection.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. But you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can be easily integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your baby’s social development.

When you sing and talk to your baby every chance you get,
they feel reassured by the sounds and songs they recognize.
When you let your baby spend quality time with their siblings on a daily basis,
they develop bonds with their closest family members.
When you sing songs with gestures, such as Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes or Itsy Bitsy Spider,
your baby learns the melodies and gestures that accompany them and gradually learns to anticipate what comes next.
When you sing using different voices,
your baby learns how to interpret different tones of voice.
When you call your baby’s name when they aren’t looking at you,
they learn to respond to their name.
When you describe the sounds that you hear, such as by saying “The phone is ringing!” or “There’s Daddy’s car!”
your baby learns to listen, gradually develops an understanding of the world, and becomes used to normal sounds around the house.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Annie Goulet, psychologist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2020


Photo : GettyImages/StockPlanets



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  • Doré, Nicole, and Danielle Le Hénaff. From Tiny Tot to Toddler: A practical guide for parents from pregnancy to age two. “Your child’s development.” Quebec City, Institut national de santé publique du Québec. www.inspq.qc.ca
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien: de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Passeport Santé. “Développement de bébé à 4 mois: ce qui change.” 2017. www.passeportsante.net
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles: Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca