Developmental Milestones

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.

2 months

  • Begins to smile at people
  • Can briefly calm self (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand)
  • Tries to look at parent
  • Pays attention to faces
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
  • Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change
  • Coos, makes gurgling sounds
  • Turns head towards sounds
  • Can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy
  • Makes smoother movements with arms and legs

4 months

  • Smiles spontaneously, especially at people
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning
 
  • Lets you know if happy or sad
  • Responds to affections
  • Uses hands and eyes together, such as seeing a toy and reaching for it
  • Follows moving things with eyes from side to side
  • Watches faces closely
  • Recognizes familiar people and things at a distance
  • Begins to babble
  • Babbles with expression and copies sounds she/he hears
  • Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain or being tired
  • Holds head steady, unsupported
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are on a hard surface
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back
  • Can hold a toy and shake it and swing at dangling toys
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • When lying on stomach,  pushes up to elbows

6 months

  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
  • Likes to play with others, especially parents
  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror
  • Looks around at things nearby
  • Brings things to mouth
  • Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other
  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah” “eh” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
  • Responds to own name
  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m” “b”)
  • Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)
  • Begins to sit without support
  • When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce
  • Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward

9 months

  • May be afraid of strangers
  • May be clingy with familiar adults
  • Has favorite toys
  • Watches the path of something as it falls
  • Looks for things they see you hide
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Puts things in mouth
  • Moves things smoothly from one hand to the other
  • Picks up things like cereal between thumb and index finger
  • Understands “no”
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “babababa”
  • Copies sounds and gestures of others
  • Uses fingers to point at things
  • Stands, holding on
  • Can get into sitting positions
  • Sits without support
  • Pulls to stand
  • Crawls

12 months

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when they want to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts arm or leg out to help with dressing
  • Plays games like “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake)
  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”
  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say
  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding onto furniture
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

18 months

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by
  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on their own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”
  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants
  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

2 years

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what they have been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games
  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows two-step instructions like “pick up your shoes and put them in the closet”
  • Names items in a picture book such as cat, bird or dog
  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversations
  • Points to things in a book
  • Stand on tip-toes
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs while holding on
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles

3 years

  • Copies adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting
  • Takes turns in games
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “theirs”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad
  • May get upset with major changes in routine
  • Dresses and undresses self
  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people
  • Shows concern for crying friend
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds towers with 6 or more blocks
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turn door handles
  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like “in” “on” and “under”
  • Says first name, age, and sex
  • Names a friend
  • Says words like “I” “me” “we” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step