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4 to 8 month olds

Last updated: January 23, 2024

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By the time your baby is four months old he or she has already developed their own personality. They know when you call their name and can be soothed by the sound of your voice. Over the next few months you’ll see your baby becoming more curious of their surroundings and starting to play and communicate with other babies and toddlers.

The following information has been sourced from the Early Years Learning Framework Developmental Milestones booklet, developed by Community Child Care Co-operative Ltd NSW (CCCC) for the Department of Education. 

How can you encourage your baby’s learning?

  • Mimic their sounds and actions e.g. clapping, waving
  • Encourage their motor skills e.g. place a toy out of reach and urge them to crawl towards it
  • Play games e.g. peek-a-boo, splash time in the bath, go to the mirror and show their reflection
  • Play together on the floor to encourage your baby to stretch, wriggle and roll
  • Tickle and laugh with your baby
  • Read them books with simple, bright pictures

Developmental milestones you can observe


  • plays with feet and toes
  • makes an effort to sit alone, but needs hand support
  • raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • tries to crawl when lying on stomach
  • rolls from back to stomach
  • reaches for and grasp objects, using one hand to grasp
  • crawls using both hands and feet
  • eyes smoothly follow an object or person
  • able to take weight on feet when standing
  • watches activities across room and eyes move in unison
  • turns head to sound of voices


  • reacts when approaching or around another baby or toddler
  • responds to own name
  • smiles often and shows excitement when seeing food being made or at bath time
  • recognises familiar people and stretches arms to be picked up


  • is becoming more settled in eating and sleeping patterns
  • laughs, especially in social interactions
  • may soothe self when tired or upset by sucking thumb or dummy
  • begins to show wariness of strangers
  • may fret when parent leaves the room
  • happy to see faces they know


  • swipes at dangling objects
  • shakes and stares at toy placed in hand
  • becomes bored if left alone for long periods of time
  • repeats accidentally caused actions that are interesting
  • enjoys games such as peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake
  • will search for partly hidden objects
  • enjoys toys, banging objects, scrunching paper
  • explores objects by looking at and mouthing them
  • develops preferences for foods


  • enjoys games such as peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake
  • babbles and repeat sounds
  • makes talking sounds in response to others talking
  • copies sounds
  • smiles and babbles at own image in mirror
  • responds to own name

When to seek advice

Please seek advice from your local community health worker or doctor if your baby is:

  • not learning to make sounds
  • not responding to familiar faces
  • not learning to roll when playing on the floor
  • not responsive to carers
  • not babbling and making sounds
  • not playing with feet/swapping objects between hands
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