5 - 6 Months

Your 6-month-old’s cognitive development

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Here’s what child development experts say is happening in your child’s brain at this stage. Note that the age ranges below indicate when a skill typically starts to emerge, not when it ends—and remember that every baby’s development is different.

Your baby may:

Work to get an object that’s out of reach. You can put a toy just beyond your baby’s grasp so they have to work to get it. After a few tries, scoot the toy closer, and then give it to your baby to reinforce their effort. Child development experts warn that you should not tease your baby by moving the toy too far away. (5 to 9 months) 

Touch a toy (or your hand) to restart an activity that has stopped. Your baby is beginning to understand that objects can move, make noises, or otherwise do something interesting. Try this: start the motion of a plaything like the Spinning Rainbow and then stop it abruptly. See if your baby reaches to touch your hand or the toy. Their touch shows their early understanding that they can affect their environment. (5 to 9 months)

Show an interest in the sounds they can make with different objects. By around 7 months, you may start to see your baby banging their rattle on a table or purposefully shaking a bell toy. At this stage, your baby has discovered that if they take an action with a certain object, they can intentionally create noise. Once your baby gets the hang of this, they may start to experiment by hitting different objects on different surfaces to see what happens. (5.5 to 8 months) 

Focus on a single toy for several minutes at a time. Two to 3 minutes may not sound like a long time to spend with one object, but this shows that your baby’s ability to focus is expanding. Focus is an early indication of the executive functioning skills that are developing in your baby’s brain. (6 to 7 months)

Follow the path of a fast moving object. At this age, your baby may start tracking the flight of something in the air (a bird, a ball, a falling leaf). Place your baby on their back on the floor, blow up a standard balloon, toss it in the air, and keep it moving. See if your baby is interested in tracking it. Note: Keep the balloon out of your baby’s reach. (6 to 7 months)

Enjoy playing peekaboo. Your baby is starting to understand object permanence, or the idea that something gone from view might still exist. When you hide your face and then show it again, your baby is delighted by the fact that you reappeared. They already love the sight of your face, and playing the game of peekaboo taps into two things they love right now: familiarity and surprise ❤️ (6 to 10 months)

Learn more about your baby’s developing skills and behaviors in our complete guide to baby development milestones.

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Posted in: 5 - 6 Months, 7 - 8 Months, Milestones, Object Permanence, Cognitive Development, Lovevery App, Child Development

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