Developmental Milestones

You can learn a great deal about your child’s development by observing their behavior. Take a look at the developmental milestones listed below to see how your child is growing and developing. Share with your child’s pediatrician his or her progress and talk about what to expect next.

1 month:

  • Startles to loud noise
  • Focuses gaze
  • Calms when comforted
  • Sucks well on nipple 

2 months:

  • Can briefly calm himself
  • Smiles responsively/spontaneously
  • Coos, gurgling sound
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
  • Pays attention to faces
  • Can hold up head
  • Can be comforted & calmed by touching/rocking
  • Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change

4 months:

  • Follows a moving toy or person with eyes
  • Laughs/smiles responsively
  • Begins to babble
  • Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain, or being tired
  • Holds head steady when supported at the chest or waist in a sitting position
  • Holds an object briefly when placed in hand
  • Reaches for toy with one hand
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning
  • Responds to people with excitement (e.g. movement/panting/vocalizing)

6 months:

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy 
  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”)
  • Turn to voice (turn to rattling sound)
  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
  • Brings things to mouth 
  • Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)
  • Begins to sit without support
  • Feed self (work for toy (out of reach))
  • Reaches/grasps objects
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other 

9 months:

  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Understands “no”
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “bababababa”
  • Makes sounds/gestures to get attention or help
  • Copies sounds and gestures of others
  • Puts things in her mouth
  • Sits without support
  • Pulls to stand
  • Stands with support when helped into standing position
  • Wave bye bye (feed self)
  • Plays social games with you (e.g., nose touching, peek-a-boo)
  • Uses fingers to point at things
  • Picks up things like cereal o’s between thumb and index finger
  • Crawls


1 Year:

  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Copies gestures
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Understands simple requests, (e.g., Where is the ball?)
  • 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 3 or more words (do not have to be clear)
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone
  • Wave bye-bye, imitate activities (play pat-a-cake protodeclarative pointing)
  • Shows distress when separated from parent/caregiver
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container

15 months:

  • Walk backwards (Stoop and recover, walk well)
  • Scribble (put block in cup)
  • 3 words
  • Drink from cup (wave bye-bye)

18 months:

  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to one body part
  • Walks alone
  • Walk up steps/run
  • Can help undress herself
  • Point to at least 1 body part, 6 words (3 words)
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll

 2 years:

  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog
  • Throw ball overhand, jump up (kick ball forward, walk up steps)
  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Know 2 actions, speech half understandable (point to 6 body parts, name 1 picture)
  • Imitate vertical line, tower of 8 cubes (tower of 6 cubes)
  • Wash and dry hands (put on clothing) 

3 years:

  • Speech is all understandable, name 1 color, know 2 adjectives (name 4 pictures)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Copies adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step

4 years:

  • Names some colors and some numbers
  • Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”
  • Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  • Hop (balance on each foot 2 seconds)
  • Define 5 words, name 4 colors
  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Cooperates with other children