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Typical Milestones of Child Development

It is important to remember that each child develops differently and in his or her own way. This resource is to be used as a guideline for some typical developmental milestones.


1-3 Months  |  4-7 Months  |  8-12 Months  |  12-24 Months  |  24-36 Months


1-3 Months

Movement milestones
  • Raises head and cheek when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on his legs when his feet are placed on a firm surface
Visual milestones
  • Watches face intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
Hearing and Speech milestones
  • Smiles at the sound of voice
  • Enjoys cooing noises and vocal play
  • Attends to sound
  • Startles to loud noise
Social/Emotional milestones
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when play stops
  • Becomes for communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

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4-7 Months

Movement milestones
  • Pushes up on extended arms
  • Pulls to sitting with no head lag
  • Sits with support of his hands
  • Sits unsupported for short periods
  • Supports whole weight on legs
  • Grasps feet
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)
Visual milestones
  • Looks for toy beyond tracking range
  • Tracks moving objects with ease
  • Grasps objects dangling in front of him
  • Looks for fallen toys
Language milestones
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone or voice
  • Responds to sound by making noise
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Begins syllable repetition
Cognitive milestones
  • Finds partially hidden objects
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach
Social/Emotional milestones
  • Enjoys social play
  • Enjoys mirror images
  • Responds to other people's expression of emotion

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8-12 Months

Movement milestones
  • Gets to sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hand and knee position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to standing position
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • Takes two or three steps without support
Hand and Finger milestones
  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two one-inch cubes together
  • Puts objects into container and takes objects out of container
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling
Language milestones
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to "no"
  • Makes simple gestures such as shaking head for no
  • Babbles with inflection
  • Babbles "dada" and "mama"
  • Says "dada" and "mama" for specific person
  • Uses exclamations such as "uh-oh"
Cognitive milestones
  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing and dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when image is named
  • Imitates gestures
Social/Emotional milestones
  • Appears shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Prefers mother and/or regular care provider over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Begins to finger-feed himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

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12-24 Months

Movement milestones
  • Walks alone
  • Pulls toys behind him while walking
  • Carries large toy or several toys while walking
  • Begins to run stiffly
  • Walks into ball
  • Climbs unto and down from furniture unsupported
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on to support
Hand and Finger milestones
  • Scribbles spontaneously
  • Turns over container to pour out contents
  • Builds tower of four blocks or more
Language milestones
  • Points to object or picture when it's named for her
  • Recognizes names of familiar people, objects, and body parts
  • Says several single words
  • Uses two word sentences
  • Follows simple, one-step instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversations
Cognitive milestones
  • Finds objects even when hidden under 2 or 3 covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Begins make-believe play
Social/Emotional milestones
  • Imitates behavior of others, especially adults and older children
  • Becomes increasingly enthusiastic about company or other children
  • Demonstrates increasing independence
  • Begins to show defiant behavior
  • Episodes of separation anxiety increase toward midyear, then fade

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24-36 Months

Movement milestones
  • Climbs well
  • Walks down stairs alone, place both feet on each step
  • Walks up stairs alternating feet with support
  • Swings leg to kick ball
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals tricycle
  • Bends over easily without falling
Hand and Finger milestones
  • Makes vertical, horizontal, circular strokes with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds a tower of more than 6 blocks
  • Holds a pencil in writing position
  • Screws and unscrews jar ids
  • Turns rotating handles
Language milestones
  • Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures
  • Understands most sentences
  • Understands physical relationships (on, in, under)
  • Says name, age, and sex
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they)
  • Begins speaking clearly enough for strangers to understand most of words
Cognitive milestones
  • Makes mechanical toys work
  • Matches an object in hand or room to a picture in a book
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people
  • Sorts objects by color
  • Completes puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands concept of "two"
Social/Emotional milestones
  • Separates easily from parents
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions
  • Objects to major changes in routine

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