Encouraging Your Baby’s Social Skills

Do you hear laughter coming from the nursery? Between the ages of 4 and 6 months, your child may begin to laugh, squeal, and coo when talked to. While all children progress at different rates, this is often a very social age for babies as they become more aware of their surroundings and other people.

You can encourage social skills by adopting these habits:

• Repeat sounds and smile when your baby makes sounds.

• Make funny faces or sounds or blow on your baby’s belly to encourage laughter. Laugh when your baby laughs.

• Talk to and imitate your baby during feeding, dressing, changing, and bath times.

• Dance with your baby and do other rhythmic movements.

• Read books to your baby and point out pictures.

• Show your baby his or her reflection in a mirror.

• Take your baby outside to see new things and people.

This is also the age when babies begin to understand the concept of “object permanence”—the idea that an object is present even when it cannot be seen, like a block hidden under a blanket. You can teach your baby this awareness by playing peek-a-boo games.

Also during play time, encourage reaching and grasping by placing safe toys near your child. Spend time on the floor playing with your child every day, and always make time for cuddling, especially if your baby is unhappy.

Online Medical Reviewer:

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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