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Developmental Milestones

Every child is different. Milestones provide a way to track development so that delays can be promptly identified and quickly corrected. Late identification of difficulties can cause frustration or impact your child's self-esteem and relationships with others. 

Sometimes a later developing milestone can be attended to at home with great ideas from a Physical, Occupational, Speech- Language, or Feeding therapist through free professional consultation. If reviewing the milestones raises questions for you, we are here to help!

By 3 Months

Social and emotional

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more expressive and communicates more with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Movement

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys

Vision

  • Watches faces intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination

Hearing and Speech

  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound
By 7 Months

Social and emotional

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people's expressions of emotion

Cognitive

  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach

Language

  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to "no"
  • Can tell emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of sounds

Movement

  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support on hands
  • Supports whole weight on legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses hand to rake objects

Vision

  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision
  • Ability to track moving objects improves and appears joyful often
By 1 Year

Social and emotional

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to actions during feedings
  • Tests parental responses to behavior
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds self
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

Cognitive

  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct posture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone)

Language

  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to "no"
  • Uses simple gestures suck as shaking head for "no"
  • Babbles with inflection (changes in tone)
  • Says "dada" and "mama"
  • Uses exclamations, such as "Oh-oh!"
  • Tries to imitate words
By 2 Years

Social and Emotional

  • Imitates behavior of others, especially adults and older children
  • More aware of themselves as separate from others
  • More excited about company of other children

Emotional

  • Demonstrates increasing independence
  • Begins to show defiant behavior
  • Separation anxiety increases toward midyear then fades

Cognitive

  • Finds objects even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort by shapes and colors
  • Begins to make-believe play

Language

  • Points to object or picture when it's named for him
  • Recognizes names of familiar people, objects, and body parts
  • Says several single words (by 15 to 18 months)
  • Uses simple phrases (by 18 to 24 months)
  • Uses 2 to 4 word sentences
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation

Movement

  • Walks alone
  • Pulls toys behind themselves while walking
  • Carries large toy or several toys while walking
  • Begins to run
  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted
  • Walks up and down stairs holding onto support

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Scribbles on their own
  • Turns over container to pour out contents
  • Builds tower of four blocks or more
  • Might use one hand more often than the other
By 3 Years

Social and Emotional

  • Imitates adults and playmates
  • Spontaneously shows affection for familiar playmates
  • Can take turns in games
  • Understands concept of "mine" and "his/hers"

Emotional

  • Expresses affection openly
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions
  • By 3 years, separates easily from parents
  • Objects to major changes in routine

Cognitive

  • Makes mechanical toys work
  • Matches an object in her hand or room to picture in a book
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Sorts objects by shapes and color
  • Completes puzzles with three or four pieces
  • Understands concept of "two"

Language

  • Follows a two or three part command
  • Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures
  • Understands most sentences
  • Understands placement in space ("on", "in", "under")
  • Uses 4 to 5 word sentences
  • Can say name, age and sex
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they) and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Strangers can understand most of her words

Movement

  • Climbs well
  • Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet (one foot per stair step)
  • Kicks ball
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals tricycle
  • Bends over easily without failing

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Makes up-and-down, side-to-side and circular lines with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds a tower of more than six blocks
  • Holds a pencil in writing position
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids, nuts and bolts
  • Turns rotating handles
By 4 Years

Social and Emotional

  • Interested in new experiences
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Plays "mom" or "dad"
  • Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
  • Dresses and undresses
  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts
  • More independent

Emotional

  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be "monsters"
  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind and feelings
  • Often cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality

Cognitive

  • Correctly names some colors
  • Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
  • Tries to solve problems from a single point of view
  • Begins to have a clearer sense of time
  • Follows three-part commands
  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Understands the concepts of "same" and "different"
  • Engages in fantasy play

Language

  • Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
  • Tells stories

Movement

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
  • Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
  • Kicks ball forward
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Catches bounced ball most of the time
  • Moves forward and backward with agility

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Copies square shapes
  • Draws a person with two to four body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Begins to copy some capital letters
By 5 Years

Social and Emotional

  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like their friends
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Shows more independence and may even visit next-door neighbors by themselves

Emotional

  • Aware of gender
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Cognitive

  • Can count 10 or more objects
  • Correctly names at least four colors
  • Better understands the concept of time
  • Knows about things used every day in the home (money, food, appliances)

Language

  • Recalls part of a story
  • Speaks sentences of more than five words
  • Uses future tense
  • Tells longer stories
  • Says name and address

Movement

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops, somersaults
  • Swings, climbs
  • May be able to skip

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Copies triangle and other shapes
  • Draws person with body
  • Prints some letters
  • Dresses and undresses without help
  • Uses fork, spoon and (sometimes) a table knife
  • Usually cares for own toilet needs