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Publication #FAR0402

Six Months to One Year: Emotional Development1

Donna Davis2

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"Ahhh…" There's few things in the world that can brighten my day as quickly as the sound of a laughing baby. By the time they are seven to eight months old, babies will begin to show more emotion, including that infectious laugh. During the next couple of months, babies begin to share those wonderful expressions of excitement, pride, joy, and affection, even giving unsolicited hugs and kisses.

Between six months and one year, babies also begin developing the other side of their emotion. They may be more anxious around strangers and will begin to express separation anxiety. But that anxiety is no reason to cancel your dinner plans. According to University of Florida professor Millie Ferrer, during those moments when babies cry because their parent or caregiver is leaving, it's important to give them a little time to get to know a new situation. Try to interest them in the fascinating things in the new environment. When they get busy, kiss them and leave quietly.

Likewise, at this stage of development, babies begin to express their independence—sometimes with a pout, sometimes by declaring a loud "No," or even with a temper tantrum. Experts say that when babies throw temper tantrums because they can't do something, teach them how to do it, if appropriate for their age. If the temper tantrum is because of something that is forbidden, distract the baby with another activity. If distraction doesn't work, make sure the baby is safe and then ignore him or her. Stay nearby, but do not pay attention to the baby until he or she is calm. Then give the baby a hug and acknowledge their feelings.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR0402, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 6 and published November 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. Reviewed by Millie Ferrer, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.