Development at 3-6 months

Baby playing with colored balls

Personal and Social Skills

  • Smiles spontaneously
  • Reaches for familiar people
  • Begins choosing toys
  • Begins to comfort self by sucking or by fingering a favourite blanket or other objects


  • Provide a safe, peaceful environment.
  • Allow for quiet time.
  • Continue to respond quickly to baby’s cries by meeting baby’s needs.
  • Massage baby’s arms, back, and legs from top to bottom.
  • Make eye contact with baby.
  • Play Peek-a-Boo with baby.
  • Let baby look at self in mirror.
  • Sing simple songs for baby and help baby do motions with hands to the music.
  • Respond joyfully to baby’s smiles and gurgles.
  • Imitate baby’s facial expressions.
  • Give baby opportunities to interact with siblings or other children.

Language and Understanding Skills

  • Squeals and laughs
  • Babbles-combines vowel and consonant sounds (“goo-ga”)
  • Explores objects by putting them in mouth
  • Experiments by making nonsense sounds (“goo-ah”)
  • Begins to respond to own name by startling or looking
  • Begins to show likes and dislikes by reaching or turning away


  • Gently shake rattle beside baby’s head to encourage baby to turn head toward sound.
  • Continue to talk to baby during daily routines.
  • Listen for baby’s sounds and imitate them; wait for baby to respond to your sounds.
  • With baby on your lap, read picture books out load; point to and name objects in the pictures.
  • Point to and name objects in baby’s room and other places.

Small Muscle Skills

  • Pick up and holds rattle
  • Chews on hands, toys, and almost everything
  • Holds and plays with a toy using both hands at the same time
  • Starts to transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • Holds objects with fingers against palm of hand (palmar grasp)


  • Put object (rattle, your finger) in baby’s hand and gently pull it to encourage baby to hold on to object.
  • Help baby hold a safe toy with both hands to encourage baby to move toy from one hand to the other.
  • Help baby pick up safe objects (one-inch blocks, assorted shapes).

Large Muscle Skills

  • Reaches for objects
  • Brings objects to mouth
  • Turns from back to side
  • Rolls from stomach to back and then back to stomach
  • Pushes up on arms when on stomach
  • Holds head upright and steady without support
  • Kicks at objects


  • Put baby on stomach on safe surface (carpet, blanket) and dangle brightly colored toys in front of baby for baby to reach for or roll to. (Do not put baby to sleep on a baby’s stomach.)
  • Fasten soft mobile on crib for baby to kick. Move baby’s legs to demonstrate. (Remove mobile before baby can sit up.)
  • Give baby biscuits to baby to hold and suck.
  • With your hands under baby’s arms, hold baby upright and help baby support weight on baby’s feet. (Never hold a young baby up using baby’s arms or hands.)
  • Put baby’s favorite object just out of reach on the floor to encourage baby to roll over.