Development (3 - 6 Months)

Ways to Encourage Development (3 - 6 Months)

Muscle Skills

  • Provide lots of time for sitting up (support head and back until good head control is complete).
  • Have brightly colored toys within reach; use toys that baby can hold with hands.
  • Give toys with different textures (soft/rough).

Language Skills

  • Speak or sing to baby; use adult talk, not baby talk.
  • Use expressive language (happy voice, laughter, etc.).
  • Respond to baby’s coos and babbles with similar sounds.

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Have the same person care for the same babies as much as possible; this helps them learn to trust and develop relationships with others.
  • Babies in this age group are very social beings.
  • Cry begins to be different for hunger, discomfort, wanting attention, etc. Baby still needs attention when he cries – you can’t spoil him/her.

Thinking Skills

  • Provide interesting toys such as:
    • Toys that make noise, rattles, squeeze toys stuffed animals with noisemakers inside.
    • Toys that can be reached for and held, crib gym, soft toy above crib to kick.
  • Provide time for being near other infants and adults.


NOTE: Babies at this age put objects in their mouths. Check all toys to be sure they do not have small pieces that babies can choke on or swallow. If hanging toys over cribs, make sure they are high enough so the baby cannot pull them down and become strangled by the cord.

Developmental Tasks (3 - 6 Months)

Muscle Skills

  • Gains more muscle control.
  • Rolls over; begins to sit (first with support, gradually more on own). Head steady when put in sitting position.
  • Reaches for object, holds object in hand and can bring hands together (like clapping); looks for object that goes out of sight.
  • Vision improves; can see more clearly.
  • By 3 ‑ 6 months, transfers object from one hand to another.
  • By 5 ‑ 6 months, can find mouth with hands.
  • By 3 ‑ 7 months, bears some weight on legs.

Language Skills

  • Makes a variety of sounds, coos and may begin babbling.
  • Turns eyes in the direction of sound (especially voices).

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Smiles.
  • Makes eye contact.
  • Shows signs of attachment to important caregiver(s) (father, mother or usual child care provider).
  • Responds differently to different people.

Thinking Skills

  • Responds to environment, laughs; looks at objects making sounds.
  • Begins to explore body.
     
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