Developmental Milestones for Young Children

The changes that a baby, toddler, or child go through are made up of many different skills, like walking, talking, and playing. These skills are also called DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES, and usually happen at a certain age for children.

Each child develops at his or her own pace, but by watching these milestones, you can know how your child is developing. If your child is late in doing several activities listed, or your have concerns that your child is not reaching some of these milestones, then you should speak to your child’s doctor.

Your child’s doctor may recommend therapy to improve your child’s developmental skills. Therapy can include speech, language, occupational or physical therapy services.

Milestones Checklist
Birth to 3 Months
Follows moving toys or faces with their eyes
Able to lift or raise head from surface when lying on tummy
Responds to loud noises
Makes sounds like cooing, gurgling, sighing, and grunting
Cries differently for different needs
Reaches or grasps toys, rattles, or hair

3 Months to 6 Months
Turns head and moves eyes to voices or sounds
Rolls over front-to-back and back-to-front
Babbles, squeals, and makes speech like sounds such as “p”, “b”, and “m”
Pays attention to music, notices toys that make sounds
Holds toys, puts toys in mouth, and can help hold the bottle during feedings

6 Months to 9 Months
Moves toys from one hand to the other hand
Can sit unassisted for five minutes
Copies sounds or gestures
Responds to name
Likes to play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
Starts to crawl by pulling self up and kicking legs

9 Months to 12 Months
Recognizes common words (cup, juice, shoe)
Can say one or two words (bye-bye, mama, dada)
Grabs small objects with thumb and index finger
Removes socks and cooperates with dressing activities
Able to crawl, pull up on furniture, and take some steps without assistance
Responds to simple requests (come here)
Can drink from a cup with help

12 Months to 24 Months
Uses some 2-word questions (Where kitty?, Go bye-bye?, What’s that?)
Can point to some body parts when asked, points to pictures in a book when named
Follows simple commands (roll the ball, kiss the baby, where’s your shoe?)
Walks alone without assistance, can keep balance when stepping off objects
Says “no” often
Likes to pretend play
Can throw a small ball, scribbles on paper, and uses spoon with some success

2 Years to 3 Years
Walking, jumping with both feet, and better at running
Able to kick and throw a ball
Able to walk up and down steps with alternate feet while holding someone’s hand
Uses 2-3 word sentences to talk about or ask for things
Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
Can follow 2 step direction (Get the book and put it on the table)
Answers simple questions
Repeats simple rhymes and songs
Puts their clothes on by themselves (3 yrs.)

3 Years to 5 Years
Hears you when you call from another room
Understands simple questions (who, what, where, why)
Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes
Uses sentences that have 4 or more words
Talks easily without repeating sounds and outside people understand
Able to cut paper into 2 pieces, traces lines, can unbutton buttons
Can pedal and steer tricycle
Bathes self (4-5 yrs.)

5 Years and Up
Can pay attention to short story and answer question about it
Hears and understands most of what is said at home and at school
Uses sentences that give more detail (I like to read my books)
Tells stories and sticks to topic
Communicates easily with other children and adults
Learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycle
Able to skip, run, gallop, and stop
Able to engage in tumbling, swimming, swinging, and ball games
Has friends and a social group at school, neighborhood, outside activities
Chooses own clothing, can make a sandwich, can assist with household chores