Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones include abilities like the first walk, the first smile, and waving “bye bye.” Children develop at different stages in their speech, learning, acting, and movement.

Although every kid and parent are unique, experts have a good understanding of the range of normal development from birth to age five as well as warning signals that a child may be experiencing a developmental delay. The developmental milestones listed below are arranged by time period.

0 - 3 Months

Pushes up on arms and lifts/holds head up when laying on tummy
Bring hands to mouth
Open and close fists
Able to lift arms and legs off of flat surface when excited
Attempts to reach for toy above head
Visually tracks toys
Able to calm with rocking and gentle sounds
Enjoys movement
Looks, calms, smiles in response to voices
Turns head toward sound
Makes eye contact and shows interest in faces
Latches well onto bottle or breast
Drinks 2-6oz/per feeding, 6x/day
Coordinates suck, swallow, breathe sequence well during feeding

4 -6 Months

Use hands to support self in sitting
Rolls both directions
Weight bears on legs and arms
Reaches for toys
Uses both hands when reaching
Plays with feet
Transfers toys between hands in both directions
Generally happy
Not upset by everyday sounds
Enjoys movement
Shows interest in food and opens mouth in anticipation of food

7 -9 Months

Sits without support
Reach and grasp a toy placed outside of base of support without falling
Transitions from tummy to sitting and back
Creeping and crawling
Turns head to visually track objects
Increase control when moving
Picks up small objects (cheerio or puff) with pad of thumb and index finger
Begins imitating others
Can turn pages in board book
Investigates objects near/far and for size, shape, and texture
Standing with assistance
Increased babbling with variety of sounds
Looks at familiar people/objects when named
Knows own name and responds
Understands commonly used words and simple gestures
Holds own bottle/cup
Tolerates a variety of textures when eating
Looks for food nearby and reaches for it

10 -12 Months

Cruises on furniture
Begins to stand alone or take independent steps
Explores environment independently
Release objects into larger container
Use pad of thumb/pointer finger to pick up small objects
Enjoys songs
Explores toys with both hands and mouth
Uses simple words (mama, dada, baba)
Responds to simple directions (come here)
Uses hand gestures to get needs met (reach up when want to be picked up)
Begins self-feeding with hands or utensils
Increasing variety of diet

13 -18 Months

Walking/squatting independently
Stacking objects in play
Helps with getting dressed/undressed
Regular sleep schedule
Increasing variety of foods
Understands ~50 words
Uses ~10 words regularly
Can identify 2-5 body parts
Uses yes/no
Eats coarsely chopped table foods
Holds/drinks from cup

19 -24 Months

Starts to jump with both feet leaving the ground
Stands on tip toes
Begins to climb
Able to kick ball
Goes up and down stairs with support
Sorts by shape/color
Take toys apart and put back together
Use ~50 words
Labels objects and pictures
Uses simple pronouns and 2 word phrases
Follows 2 step directions

2 -3 Years

Uses 2-3 word phrases
Speech is intelligible at least half the time
Understands mine, yours, basic nouns, pronouns
Asks what/where questions
Understands simple sentences
Walks up stairs (not climbs)
Uses utensils (spoon)
Notice when someone is upset or hurt
Plays next to and occasionally plays with other children
Pretend play
Simple problem solving (like getting a stool to reach a toy)
ID colors (2-3)
Calms quickly (within 10 minutes) at drop off (preschool, etc.)
Begins to complete pre-writing shapes (horizontal/vertical lines, circle, square, triangle, diagonal lines)
Understands common dangers
Uses utensils (fork)

4 - 5 Years

Engages in pretend play
Comforts friends who are hurt or sad
Adjusts behaviors based on location (home, school, library)
Says sentences with 4+ words
Can tell parent about their day
Draws a person with at least 3 body parts
Unbuttons some buttons
Can serve themselves simple foods
Holds writing utensil between fingers and thumb (not in a fist)
Follows rules to games
Tells made up stories
Engage in conversations with at least 3 back and forth exchanges
Attend to task for 5-10 minutes
Hops on 1 foot