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Milestones with Infant and Toddler Development


As your child grows, he or she will go through different stages of development. Signs of growth can be witnessed through Communication, Social and Emotional skills, Adaptive Development, and Cognitive Development. Throughout these early stages, you can watch for “milestones”; always remembering that every child is different.

To identify if there are any problem areas within your child’s development, there are certain milestones that highlight most young children’s progress and abilities from birth to age three.

 

Birth to 3 Months


Communication

  • Respond Differently to the voice of a parent than to other voices
  • Communicate with bodily movements by crying, babbling, and laughing
  • Attempting to imitate sounds
  • Exchanging sounds, facial expressions, or gestures with a parent or a caregiver

 Social & Emotional

  • Sucking their own fingers
  • Observation of own hands
  • Can be comforted by a familiar adult

 Adaptive Development

  • Raising head slightly when lying on stomach
  • Lift head to chest while lying on stomach
  • Use sucking, grasping, and rooting (holding tongue to the roof of the mouth) reflexes
  • Touch, pull, and tug own hands with fascination

 Cognitive Development

  • Focus on and follow moving objects including human faces
  • Distinguish the pitch and volume of sound
  • Identify sweet, sour, bitter, and salty tastes
  • Begin to anticipate events (I.E. sucking at the sight of a nipple)

 

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3 - 6 Months


Communication

  • Beginning of babbling (hearing impaired children may babble with hands)

 Social & Emotional

  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Laugh aloud
  • Pay attention to own name

 Adaptive Development

  • Roll over
  • Push body forward and pull body up by grabbing the edge of the crib
  • Reach, grasp, and put objects in mouth

 Cognitive Development

  • Recognize faces
  • React to and imitate the facial expressions of others
  • Differentiate between different people based on the way they look, sound, or feel

 

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6 - 9 Months


Communication

  • Using vocal and non-vocal communication to express interest and influence others

 Social & Emotional

  • Respond actively to language and gestures
  • Express several clearly differentiated emotions
  • Show displeasure at the loss of a toy

 Adaptive Development

  • Child begins to crawl
  • Grasp and pull things toward self
  • Transfer objects between hands

 Cognitive Development

  • Distinguish among pictures that show different numbers of items
  • Use relative size of objects as a clue to how close or how far away they are

 

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9 - 12 Months


Communication

  • Respond to a firm “no” by stopping what they are doing
  • Saying a few words
  • Understanding the names of familiar people and objects

 Social & Emotional

  • Show anxiety when separated from his or her primary caregiver
  • Hold out arms and legs while being dressed
  • Mimic simple actions
  • Show anxiety when separated from primary caregiver

 Adaptive Development

  • Sit without support
  • Walk with Aid
  • Throw objects
  • Pick things up with thumb and one finger

 Cognitive Development

  • Imitate gestures and actions
  • Respond to simple directions and questions with gestures, sounds, and perhaps words
  • Enjoy looking at picture books
  • Understand that an object still exists even when it’s not in view

 

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1 - 2 Years


Communication

  • The child may understand many words, as well as simple phrases and directions ( “Drink your juice”)
  • From about 18 months, the child should begin to learn about 9 new words a day
  • Using “my” or “mine” to indicate possession and the child will begin to use “me”, “I”, and “you”

 Social & Emotional

  • Your child should recognize themselves in pictures or the mirror and smile or make faces at themselves
  • Show intense feelings for parents and show affection for other familiar people
  • Express negative feelings
  • Show a strong sense of self through assertiveness, and directing others

 Adaptive Development

  • Your child should begin to walk alone
  • Move to music
  • Scribble
  • Grasp and hold a small ball, and can use in combination with large motor skills to throw the ball

 Cognitive Development

  • The child should begin to imitate adults’ actions and language
  • Begin to match similar objects
  • Understand words and commands and respond appropriately
  • Distinguish “you” and “me”

 

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2 - 3 Years


Communication

  • The child should begin to join familiar words into phrases
  • Point to common objects when they are named
  • Respond to “what?” and “where?” questions
  • Enjoy listening to stories and asking for favorite stories
  • Recount events that happened that day

 Social & Emotional

  • Indicate toileting needs
  • Help dress and undress themselves
  • Begin self-evaluation and develop notions of themselves as good, bad, attractive, etc.
  • Experience rapid mood shifts and show increased fearfulness (for example, fear of the dark, or certain objects)

 Adaptive Development

  • Jump in place with both feet together
  • Walk on tiptoes
  • Stand on one foot
  • Hold crayon with thumb and fingers instead of fist
  • Turn pages one by one
  • Draw a circle

 Cognitive Development

  • Group objects by category and name
  • Identify themselves in the mirror, saying “baby” or their own name
  • Tell what they are doing to others
  • Imitate complex adult actions such as housekeeping play

 

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