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Babies' Social and Emotional Development from 6-9 Months


father and baby on floor playing with foam blocks



Between six and nine months, you'll really start to notice your baby's social and emotional development. Your baby will express joy through laughter and seek your attention. Here's what else you can expect.

Social and Emotional Milestones

Your baby will reach many fun and important social and emotional milestones. He or she will likely:Play social games, such as peekaboo or patty cake.

  • Want to take part in activities with people.
  • Point to things for a reason.
  • Seek attention.
  • Show strong feelings about likes and dislikes.
  • Laugh.
  • Not want to be away from you or other caregivers.
  • Show fear (possibly by crying) if he is scared.

Play and Activity

You can help nurture your baby’s social and emotional development by continuing to respond when your baby wants help or attention sticking to regular routines.

You can also:

  • Respond to her calls or signals for help and attention to build her trust.
  • Model good manners: use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Create and follow regular routines. Talk about what happens next in routines or upcoming events.
  • Offer choices you are comfortable with. For example, “Do you want this cup or that cup?”.
  • Provide safe places for her to explore.
  • Continue to breastfeed.
  • Make lots of eye contact and smile at her.
  • Hold and comfort your baby, especially when he is upset, sick or hurt.

Other Social and Emotional Milestones

Between six and nine months your baby may also:

  • Show fear of strangers.
  • Begin mimicking, such as sticking out her tongue.
  • Exert control. For example, your baby may show you a toy but won’t give it to you.
  • Learn to protect himself and his belongings.
  • Refuse to do some things. For example, push a spoon away during feeding time.
  • Focus when doing something, ignoring other things that are going on.
  • Look worried about loud noises, such as vacuum cleaners, loud stern voices or banging.
  • Show clear likes or dislikes for certain people, objects or places.
  • Be sensitive to other children and perhaps cry if they cry.
  • React to other people’s moods. If you are sad, your baby may cry. If you are happy, your baby may laugh along with you.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Emotional and Social Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months

Last Updated: January 25, 2018