Child Developmental Milestones

5 years - kindergarten

0-15 Months  0-15 Months

An infant's development is amazing! At the end of 12 months, your baby can be three times his birth weight and twice his birth length. Babies follow a similar path of development, yet each is unique. Here is what you can expect to see during the first 15 months of life.

Babies first gain control over their heads and then their bodies in the early months of life.

1-4 Months: Holds her head up and steady when you hold her on your shoulder
5-8 Months: Uses his arms to pull his body along on the floor

 Rolling over, sitting, crawling, walking and moving with a purpose can happen over the course of the first 12–15 months of infant development.

5-8 Months: Rolls from her back onto her stomach
6-8 Months: Sits up with minimal support
8-12 Months: Crawls, easily switching from crawling to sitting and back again
10-15 Months: Pulls to stand at the edge of a low table and may “cruise” around the edge

Babies are like sponges, soaking up all of the talk around them. Thus, talking, singing, reading and interacting with your baby become critical to language development. Television and videos are not a substitute for face-to-face interaction with a loving caregiver.

1-4 Months: Pays attention to what is happening around him by looking around the room when held on someone’s shoulder
3-5 Months: Makes babbling or cooing sounds or waves her arms or legs when someone speaks to her or smiles at her
6-8 Months: Looks toward the sound of a familiar voice calling from another room
8-15 Months: Follows a direction such as, “Please give me the cup.”

Babies coo and babble, but the main way they communicate is by crying. Babies’ cries can change when they are hungry, tired, wet, frightened or overwhelmed. Responding to crying and holding your baby often develops a sense of trust.

1-4 Months: Fusses or cries to gain attention of familiar adults
1-4 Months: Snuggles and relaxes when rocked
4-8 Months: Understands emotions from your tone of voice
8-13 Months: Reaches to a familiar adult to be picked up when a stranger says hello
8-15 Months: Looks for his caregiver’s reaction before deciding if he should act hurt after falling down
8-36 Months: Actively clings, cries or tries to follow when her parent starts to leave

16-36 Months 16-36 Months

Toddlers are busy and eager explorers with small bodies and big feelings! Toddlers are trying to do things for themselves, but still need to be reassured by the adults in their lives. They are experiencing the world and trying to make sense of it all at the same time. Here is what you can expect to see in the toddler years.

Vocabulary takes off as language development continues. Toddlers are learning many new words and putting them together.

15-18 Months: Uses several single words such as “bye” or “nite-nite”
18-24 Months: Points to several body parts when you name them
24-32 Months: Puts several words together such as “more cookie” or “go out now”
24-32 Months: Uses personal pronouns such as “we,” “they” and “us”
30-36 Months: Uses sentences that are three or four words long
30-36 Months: Answers questions such as “What’s this?” when looking at books

Toddlers start using words to interact with parents and other people in their lives. This stage is marked by the frequent use of favorite toddler words: “no,” “mine” and “I do it!”

18-24 Months: Points to appropriate pictures in a book when asked, “Where’s the ___?”
24-32 Months: Starts asking questions about the story you are reading or the things she sees as you go on walks together
30-42 Months: Talks about something that happened and waits for your response

On the move! Crawling, dancing, rolling and running all contribute to a toddler’s growth.

12-18 Months: Walks upright more often than he crawls
18-24 Months: Can squat down and stand up again with little difficulty
24-30 Months: Enjoys climbing on furniture or small climbing structures
24-36 Months: Throws a ball or rolls it back and forth with a partner
24-36 Months: Runs with ease and can stop and start easily

Although they often get frustrated, this is a temporary stage. As toddlers improve their language development, and gain a better understanding of how things work, their frustrations melt away rather than leading to a melt down.

12-18 Months: Cries when another child takes a toy from her
18-24 Months: Stacks a set of cardboard boxes, knocks them down and then stacks them up again
18-24 Months: Runs to get her favorite book for you to read at predictable times such as nap or bedtime
24-36 Months: Knows that the rectangle shape belongs in the rectangle-shaped hole in the box and turns it until it fits
30-36 Months: Calls for help, instead of hitting, after another child grabs a toy away from him

Toddlers are straightforward, concrete thinkers who truly believe a kiss and hug can make things all better!

18-24 Months: Looks worried or sad when another child is crying
24-36 Months: Pats another child on the back and says, “it’s all right,” when the other child cries because his mommy just left

3-4 Years 3-4 Years

Children this age like to use their fingers to build with blocks, use crayons and do puzzles.

3-3.5 Years: Alternates between a whole hand grasp and a thumb and fingertips grasp when using crayons or markers
3-3.5 Years: Tries to zip up his jacket and asks for help when the zipper gets stuck
3.5-4 Years: Fits together pieces like large Legos or pop beads and/or can dress a doll

You will see great growth in your child’s language development, imagination and ability to play with other children.

3-3.5 Years: Describes actions in a book when you ask, “What is happening?” or “What’s the dog doing?”
3-3.5 Years: Chooses an activity or place to play because a special friend is there
3-4 Years: Speaks clearly enough that adults and children can usually understand what he is saying
3.5-4 Years: Answers fairly complex questions, such as, “What is this?” or, “How did you do that?”

At this age, kids are curious about the world and want to understand how everything works. They often ask questions and share their own stories and experiences.

3-3.5 Years: Shows curiosity about almost everything he sees
3-4 Years: Asks questions in order to keep a conversation going

This stage often marks the development of imaginary play and role-playing when children create rich and involved fantasies.

3-3.5 Years: Pretends to be a parent by taking care of a doll
3-3.5 Years: Uses a toy as a pretend telephone
3.5-4 Years: Joins in games of dramatic play with other children. For example, playing house and giving roles such as, “You be the mommy and I’ll be the daddy.”

Busy preschoolers have a growing interest in playing together with other children. All the time you spent encouraging your toddler to take turns now pays off!

3-3.5 Years: Looks through a story book and giggles with a friend as they “retell” the story together
3.5-4.5 Years: Trades a red marker on the table for the green marker that another child is using. Preschoolers learn concepts of reading, math, writing and science as part of their play and everyday routines!
3-4 Years: Responds accurately when asked to put her shoes in the closet or to cover her baby brother with a blanket
3-4 Years: Scribbles on paper and then tells you what he “wrote”
3-4 Years: Holds books right side up and turns the pages starting at the front of the book
3.5-4 Years: Recognizes some letters, particularly those in her name.

5 Years/Kindergarten 5 Years /Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a big transition for children. The following information should help you and your child get ready for this exciting time in your lives and ensure school readiness. 

  • Plays cooperatively with other children most of the time
    Uses words suggested by an adult to express feelings, such as “I don’t like it when you push me” or “that makes me mad!”
  • Is able to help solve simple problems with adult support
    Follows 2–3 step directions such as, “Wash your hands, go get your lunch and wait by the door.”
  • Shows hand-eye coordination by buttoning her pants or cutting around a large picture with scissors
  • Recognizes some letters, particularly the letters in his own name
  • Holds a pencil with her thumb and forefinger instead of using a whole hand grasp to draw or write
  • Tells a story about a picture and asks an adult to write it down
  • Can count 10 or more objects, such as the steps leading up to his home
  • Asks questions about everything!