6 months old: Social development

6 months old: Social development

Your baby’s social development at 6 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: 6 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby prefers to play with others (e.g., imitate their parents’ funny faces) rather than play alone.
  • They’re getting better at recognizing certain facial expressions and will try to imitate them.
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 smile at themselves in the mirror and enjoy trying to touch their reflection.
  • Your baby can distinguish between adults and children. They may smile at kids they don’t know and want to touch them.
  • They’re playful, open, and friendly.
  • They avert their eyes, turn their head, gesticulate, or cry if they experience a negative emotion.
  • They follow your gaze, turn toward you when you say their name, and pay attention to their surroundings.

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

  • Engage in collaborative play (e.g., ball games, building games).
  • Laugh, babble, and cry for attention.
  • Be more aware of other children and try to socialize by grabbing or hugging them.
  • Make more complex sounds and produce syllables like “ma” and “da” to express themselves.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be 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 cheerfully say your baby’s name from another room,
they respond by calling out or asking for your attention.
When you read (link in French) to your baby,
they enjoy spending a quiet moment with you.
When you let your baby decide which games to play,
they have fun interacting with you.
When you play peekaboo with your baby,
they’re surprised and delighted every time you reappear. Soon, they’ll understand that people and objects continue to exist when they’re out of sight.
When your baby spends time with other babies,
they start to feel comfortable around other children.
When you show your baby their reflection in a mirror and say their name, then point to your reflection and say “Mommy” or “Daddy,”
they learn to feel safe around new people and start to understand that they’re separate from you.


Naître et grandir

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


Photo: GettyImages/Prostock-Studio



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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. “Croissance de bébé à 6 mois : quatre pattes et premières dents.” 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