Major motor skills

DevelopmentWhen lying on their stomach, a six-month-old child should be able to lift their head and chest, supporting themselves on extended arms, as well as roll over. When lying on their back, they should be able to lift their head up from a pillow and bring their legs up to grasp them with their hands. If their hands are held, they should be able to pull themselves to sitting, head erect and back straight. Held standing, they should be able to bear weight on their legs.

Fine motor skills

Children should be reaching for toys and bringing everything into their mouths. They use their whole hand to grasp objects and should be able to transfer objects from one hand to the other.


Six month olds should be able to vocalise using single and double syllables, such as “mama” and “dada”.

Vision and hearing

Their vision should have improved to see both near and far, such that they can follow a rolling object for 1–5 metres. They should be able to visually localise quiet sound-producing toys.

Social achievements and play

Socially, children should be forthcoming, alert, curious and constantly active, though they may show shyness to strangers. They may lift their arms to be picked up, recognise close family members, enjoy play, laugh when happy, and scream when annoyed. They are exploring and developing an understanding of objects and what they do. At this stage if a toy falls, they should forget about it (as compared to a 9 month old, who should attempt to look for it).

When to be concerned

Speak to your doctor if a six-month-old child:

  • Does not appear interested in activities around them;
  • Is not making eye contact or enjoying interaction;
  • Is persistently difficult to settle;
  • Seems anxious;
  • Is not vocalising or making any sounds; or
  • Does not appear to recognise their mother or close family.

More information

Developmental milestones in childhood For more information on developmental milestones in childhood, including recommended health check-ups and childhood immunisation, see Developmental Milestones.


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  2. Parenting and Child Health: Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service. Child development: 0-3 months [online]. Adelaide: Government of South Australia. 11 September 2008 [cited 31 October 2008]. Available from URL: HealthTopics/ HealthTopicDetails.aspx? p=114&np=122&id=1963
  3. Slater A, Hocking I, Loose J. Theories and issues in child development. In: Slater A, Bremner G [eds]. An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2003, 34-63.