Developmental Milestones


Birth to 3 Months

  • May startle to loud noises
  • May smile when spoken to
  • Familiar voices are soothing and comforting
  • Varies cries depending on needs
  • Cooing and gooing sounds when happy
  • May smile when seeing familiar faces (mom, dad)
  • Fluctuates speed of sucking in accordance to sounds
  • May suck fingers if near mouth
  • Fluctuates speed of sucking in accordance to sounds
  • Recognizes the difference between nipple and bottle
  • New voices are intriguing
  • Lifts head briefly
  • Turns from side to back purposefully
  • Briefly (for 5–10 seconds) holds an object such as a rattle

4 Months to 6 Months

  • Follows the direction of sounds with eyes
  • Attentive to music and toys that make sounds
  • Vocalizes enthusiasm and discontent through laughter or cries
  • Makes babbling and gurgling sounds as a form of speech
  • Can hold bottle without assistance from mom or dad
  • Responds with an open mouth if spoon is nearby
  • Responsive to the word “no” as well as changes in parental tone of voice
  • Attentive to music, rhythm, and other surrounding noises
  • Sits when propped up (the back may be curved forward)
  • Brings hands and objects to mouth
  • Holds, shakes, and bangs a rattle with hands
  • Rolls from front to back and back to front
  • Creeps forward when lying on stomach

7 Months to 9 Months

  • Begins to self-feed food (i.e. snacks, crackers)
  • Sips from cup dependent on adult holding it up (some loss of liquid)
  • If presented with a spoon, will reach for it
  • Makes sounds with the spoon by banging on table surface
  • Favors parent feeding versus self-feeding
  • Turns when name is called
  • Sits with minimal support with back straight
  • Creeps forward when lying on stomach
  • May begin crawling
  • Bears weight when in a standing position
  • Holds an object and transfers it from one hand to another
  • Rakes the hand to reach an object or food

10 Months to 1 Year

  • Appreciates games such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Recognizes familiar objects by name
  • Starts to reply to requests through gestures and babbling
  • Uses one or two words (closer to 1 year)
  • Begins to imitate certain speech sounds
  • Attentive when spoken to
  • Consumes lumped or mashed foods
  • Begins the use of rotary jaw chewing
  • Sits for long periods of time
  • Crawls, scoots, shakes, bangs, points, and throws objects
  • May be able to pull to a stand and cruise around furniture
  • May start to take a few steps
  • Has a good pincer grasp (is able to pick up items with index finger and thumb)

12 Months to 18 Months

  • Can recognize and point to body parts if asked
  • Recognizes and points to pictures names in books
  • Attentive to children’s stories and enjoys songs
  • Follows simple commands and comprehends simple questions
  • Uses one/two word questions (i.e. “What’s that?”)
  • Puts words together to express wants/needs
  • Effectively drink from a straw and grasp a spoon
  • Vocabulary grows from 2-50 words
  • Pulls up to a standing position
  • Moves around while holding on to the couch or other furniture (known as “cruising”)
  • Takes steps independently
  • Puts objects in and takes them out of a container
  • Squats down and stands back up
  • Points at items he or she wants
  • Copies some of your actions (such as holding a phone to their ear, or pointing with a remote control)
  • Throws or kicks a ball

18 Months to 24 Months

  • Knows how to indicate wet pants
  • Uses third-person language by referring to self by name
  • Involved in parallel play
  • Participates in communicating social words (i.e. “hi,” “bye,” “thank you”)
  • Begins imitating adults
  • Gives up the bottle, self feeds, and has limited spills
  • Able to swallow with full lip closure
  • Vocabulary grows from 50-300 words
  • Intelligible speech 25-50%
  • Pronouns produced include: “I” and “it”
  • Understands prepositions such as in, on, and under
  • Understands directional terms such as up and down
  • Uses a spoon
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Walks alone; may be running

2 Years to 3 Years

  • Comprehends variances in meaning such as opposites
  • Listens and enjoys longer stories
  • Follows two-step commands
  • Stutter may occur in words or sounds
  • Draws attention by labeling or commenting
  • Holds a cup in one hand and drinks with limited spillage
  • Effectively use spoon/fork and bite through various thicknesses
  • Vocabulary grows from 300-1,000 words
  • Intelligible speech 50-75%
  • Speech sounds produced include: /b/, /w/, /h/, /m/, /n/, /p/
  • Pronouns produced include: my, me, mine, you, your, she, he, yours, we
  • Begins asking “where” and “what” questions
  • Understands prepositions such as in, off, on, under, out of, together, away from
  • Comprehends size differences (i.e. big and little)
  • Able to identify similar objects from a presented group of various objects
  • Draws or copies lines or circles
  • Runs and climbs
  • Uses one hand more than the other while eating and coloring

3 Years to 4 Years

  • Responds to name called from a distance or separate room
  • Listens to electronics (i.e. television or radio) at same loudness levels as adults
  • Recognizes and comprehends basic colors and shapes
  • Comprehends family labels (i.e. brother, sister, grandma, grandpa)
  • Begins to ask “when” and “how” questions
  • Starts to rhyme simple words (i.e. dad-bad)
  • Sentences contain 4+ words
  • Vocabulary grows from 1,000-1,600 words
  • Intelligible speech 75-90%
  • Speech sounds produced include: /f/, /t/, /k/, /g/, /y/, /d/
  • Pronouns produced include: “they,” “us,” “hers,” “its,” “our,” “him,” “myself,” “yourself,” “ourselves”
  • Begins asking one-word “why” questions along with “is,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” and “whose” questions
  • Understands prepositions such behind, in front, around, beside, between
  • Able to discern the different object from the presented group
  • Stacks more than 6 blocks or other objects
  • Runs and climbs well
  • Pedals a tricycle

4 Years to 5 Years

  • Begins to comprehend sequences of events (i.e. first, second, third)
  • Obeys multi-step directions and classroom instructions
  • Hears and comprehends home and school conversation
  • Capable of telling a short/long imaginative and dramatic story
  • Understands transitioning between outdoor versus indoor voice
  • Converses easily with adults and participates in conversation with strangers
  • Capable of identifying letters and numbers
  • Varies speech dependent upon communication partner and environment
  • Vocabulary grows from 1,600-2,500 words
  • Intelligible speech 90-100%
  • Speech sounds produced include: /j/, /ch/, /sh/, /z/, /v/, /r/, /l/, /s/
  • Asks questions that follow a pattern of “do you want to?” “are we going to?” and “can you?”
  • Understands prepositions such as nearest, through, first, middle, last
  • Comprehends time concepts (i.e. yesterday, today, tomorrow)
  • Catches a ball that is bounced, most of the time 
  • Stands briefly on one foot

If your child is not reaching any of the bullet points in their milestones please call us today to schedule a formal assessment so that we can determine the appropriate course of action as soon as possible.