5 months old: Social development

5 months old: Social development

Your baby’s social development at 5 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: 5 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby makes sounds and interrupts conversations to get attention.
  • They smile and make noises when they see their reflection in the mirror.
  • They distinguish between familiar faces and strangers.
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.
  • They track adults with their eyes and make eye contact with them.
  • They light up at the sight of their parents and are soothed by their parents’ presence.
  • They use sounds and gestures to express their emotions (e.g., if they want to be picked up, they might make impatient noises, wave, and raise their arms).
  • They babble happily when you play with them, when shaking a rattle, and when they pat their chest or bottle.

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

  • Intentionally observe the expressions on adults’ faces.
  • Make connections between the tone of voice people use and their emotions.
  • Deliberately try to get a positive reaction from adults and begin to develop their personality.

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 smile at others and encourage your baby to do likewise,
they learn that people are generally friendly.
When you react to the sounds your baby makes,
they learn to use their voice to get your attention.
When you sit or hold your baby in front of a mirror and make funny faces,
they like to observe both your face and their own.
When you talk to your baby while playing games in front of the mirror,
they babble at your reflections.
When you hold out your hands and ask your baby if they want to be picked up (your little one won’t answer, but they’ll raise their arms if they do),
they learn the meaning of certain gestures.
When you respond to the sounds and gestures your baby makes,
they understand that they have an effect on their environment and gradually learn to wait their turn.


Naître et grandir

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


Photo: GettyImages/Andrey Zhuravlev



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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.
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  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles: Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca