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Child Development Milestones - 6 months

This table shows the development milestones of an average child at 6 months of age and also lists the signs of possible problems to be aware of.

What to look for at 6 months of age

The majority of children will achieve these milestones by the time they turn 6 months. All children develop at different rates. Some children are slower than others (developmentally delayed) but catch up with time. Other children, however, may have an underlying problem that causes their delayed development, and they may not catch up. It is important for these children to get as much treatment (early intervention) as possible. So if you are concerned about any aspect of your child's development, see your child health nurse or doctor for help without delay. If in doubt, it is better to have your concerns checked than to 'wait and see'.

Gross motor

An average child can…

Signs of possible problems include…

Lift head and chest off the ground when lying on their tummy

Cannot lift head and shoulders when lying on their tummy

Roll over side to side

Cannot roll over

Sit with support and a straight back

Floppy back when held in sitting

Bear weight on legs, stand with support

Any difference between right and left sides of body (in strength, movement or muscle tone)

Fine motor

An average child can…

Signs of possible problems include…

Reach for objects with each arm and hand

Obvious difference between use of right and left arms

Hold objects with whole hand

 

Transfer object from hand to hand

Persistent fisting of hands (cannot release objects)

Hold an object in each hand

 

Talking and understanding

An average child can…

Signs of possible problems include…

Make four or more distinct sounds (vowels and consonants)

Not much variety in sounds being made

Laugh in response to something

Limited social use of sound (not responsive, no turn-taking, no laughter)

Search for sound by turning head

Not interested in sound or able to turn to sound with head and eyes

Change behaviour when listening to sound and human conversation

Doesn’t change behaviour in response to sound

Social

An average child can…

Signs of possible problems include…

Enjoy and respond to play

Shows no preference to mother or other people

Anticipate touch of being lifted

Doesn’t look at people directly in the eye

Turn head to people

No responsive smiling or laughing

Drink from a cup (with adult holding it)

Negative or over-reaction to touch

Resist toys being taken away

 

Note

If you have any concerns about your child's development, see your child health nurse or GP.
Copyright 2003 Child Development Network. Reproduced with permission