Developmental Milestones

 

Developmental Milestones

CDC’s milestones and parent tips have been updated and new checklist ages have been added (15 and 30 months). Due to COVID-19, updated photos and videos have been delayed but will be added back to this page in the future. For more information about the recent updates to CDC’s developmental milestones, please view the Pediatrics journal article describing the updates.

Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).

Click on the boxes below to review milestones by age

How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children (75% or more) can do by a certain age.

2 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Calms down when spoken to or picked up
  • Looks at your face
  • Seems happy to see you when you walk up to her
  • Smiles when you talk to or smile at her
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Makes sounds other than crying
  • Reacts to loud sounds
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Watches you as you move
  • Looks at a toy for several seconds
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Holds head up when on tummy
  • Moves both arms and both legs
  • Opens hands briefly

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
4 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Smiles on his own to get your attention
  • Chuckles (not yet a full laugh) when you try to make her laugh
  • Looks at you, moves, or makes sounds to get or keep your attention
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Makes sounds like “oooo”, “aahh” (cooing)
  • Makes sounds back when you talk to him
  • Turns head towards the sound of your voice
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving
  • If hungry, opens mouth when she sees breast or bottle
  • Looks at his hands with interest
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Holds head steady without support when you are holding her
  • Holds a toy when you put it in his hand
  • Uses her arm to swing at toys
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Pushes up onto elbows/forearms when on tummy

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
6 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Knows familiar people
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror
  • Laughs
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Takes turns making sounds with you
  • Blows “raspberries” (sticks tongue out and blows)
  • Makes squealing noises
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving
  • Puts things in her mouth to explore them
  • Reaches to grab a toy he wants
  • Closes lips to show she doesn’t want more food
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Rolls from tummy to back
  • Pushes up with straight arms when on tummy
  • Leans on hands to support himself when sitting

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
9 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Is shy, clingy, or fearful around strangers
  • Shows several facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised
  • Looks when you call her name
  • Reacts when you leave (looks, reaches for you, or cries)
  • Smiles or laughs when you play peek-a-boo
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “bababababa”
  • Lifts arms up to be picked up
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Looks for objects when dropped out of sight (like his spoon or toy)
  • Bangs two things together
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Gets to a sitting position by herself
  • Moves things from one hand to her other hand
  • Uses fingers to “rake” food towards himself
  • Sits without support

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
1 Year

What most children do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Plays games with you, like pat-a-cake
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Waves “bye-bye”
  • Calls a parent “mama” or “dada” or another special name
  • Understands “no” (pauses briefly or stops when you say it)
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Puts something in a container, like a block in a cup
  • Looks for things he sees you hide, like a toy under a blanket
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Pulls up to stand
  • Walks, holding on to furniture
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid, as you hold it
  • Picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small bits of food

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
15 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Copies other children while playing, like taking toys out of a container when another child does
  • Shows you an object she likes
  • Claps when excited
  • Hugs stuffed doll or other toy
  • Shows you affection (hugs, cuddles, or kisses you)
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Tries to say one or two words besides “mama” or “dada,” like “ba” for ball or “da” for dog
  • Looks at a familiar object when you name it
  • Follows directions given with both a gesture and words. For example, he gives you a toy when you hold out your hand and say, “Give me the toy.”
  • Points to ask for something or to get help
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Tries to use things the right way, like a phone, cup, or book
  • Stacks at least two small objects, like blocks
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Takes a few steps on his own
  • Uses fingers to feed herself some food

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your baby do together?
  • What are some things your baby likes to do?
  • Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
18 Months

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Moves away from you, but looks to make sure you are close by
  • Points to show you something interesting
  • Puts hands out for you to wash them
  • Looks at a few pages in a book with you
  • Helps you dress him by pushing arm through sleeve or lifting up foot
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Tries to say three or more words besides “mama” or “dada”
  • Follows one-step directions without any gestures, like giving you the toy when you say, “Give it to me.”
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Copies you doing chores, like sweeping with a broom
  • Plays with toys in a simple way, like pushing a toy car
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Walks without holding on to anyone or anything
  • Scribbles
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • Feeds herself with her fingers
  • Tries to use a spoon
  • Climbs on and off a couch or chair without help

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your child do together?
  • What are some things your child likes to do?
  • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
24 Months

What most children do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones
  • Notices when others are hurt or upset, like pausing or looking sad when someone is crying
  • Looks at your face to see how to react in a new situation
Language/Communication Milestones
  • Points to things in a book when you ask, like “Where is the bear?”
  • Says at least two words together, like “More milk.”
  • Points to at least two body parts when you ask him to show you
  • Uses more gestures than just waving and pointing, like blowing a kiss or nodding yes
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Holds something in one hand while using the other hand; for example, holding a container and taking the lid off
  • Tries to use switches, knobs, or buttons on a toy
  • Plays with more than one toy at the same time, like putting toy food on a toy plate
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
  • Kicks a ball
  • Runs
  • Walks (not climbs) up a few stairs with or without help
  • Eats with a spoon

Other important things to share with the doctor…

  • What are some things you and your child do together?
  • What are some things your child likes to do?
  • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
  • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
  • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
    30 Months

    What most babies do by this age:

    Social/Emotional Milestones
    • Plays next to other children and sometimes plays with them
    • Shows you what she can do by saying, “Look at me!”
    • Follows simple routines when told, like helping to pick up toys when you say, “It’s clean-up time.”
    Language/Communication Milestones
    • Says about 50 words
    • Says two or more words, with one action word, like “Doggie run”
    • Names things in a book when you point and ask, “What is this?”
    • Says words like “I,” “me,” or “we”
    Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
    • Uses things to pretend, like feeding a block to a doll as if it were food
    • Shows simple problem-solving skills, like standing on a small stool to reach something
    • Follows two-step instructions like “Put the toy down and close the door.”
    • Shows he knows at least one color, like pointing to a red crayon when you ask, “Which one is red?”
    Movement/Physical Development Milestones
    • Uses hands to twist things, like turning doorknobs or unscrewing lids
    • Takes some clothes off by himself, like loose pants or an open jacket
    • Jumps off the ground with both feet
    • Turns book pages, one at a time, when you read to her

    Other important things to share with the doctor…

    • What are some things you and your child do together?
    • What are some things your child likes to do?
    • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
    • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
    • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
    3 Years

    What most children do by this age:

    Social/Emotional Milestones
    • Calms down within 10 minutes after you leave her, like at a childcare drop off
    • Notices other children and joins them to play
    Language/Communication Milestones
    • Talks with you in conversation using at least two back-and-forth exchanges
    • Asks “who,” “what,” “where,” or “why” questions, like “Where is mommy/daddy?”
    • Says what action is happening in a picture or book when asked, like “running,” “eating,” or “playing”
    • Says first name, when asked
    • Talks well enough for others to understand, most of the time
    Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
    • Draws a circle, when you show him how
    • Avoids touching hot objects, like a stove, when you warn her
    Movement/Physical Development Milestones
    • Strings items together, like large beads or macaroni
    • Puts on some clothes by himself, like loose pants or a jacket
    • Uses a fork

    Other important things to share with the doctor…

    • What are some things you and your child do together?
    • What are some things your child likes to do?
    • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
    • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
    • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
    4 Years

    What most children do by this age:

    Social/Emotional Milestones
    • Pretends to be something else during play (teacher, superhero, dog)
    • Asks to go play with children if none are around, like “Can I play with Alex?”
    • Comforts others who are hurt or sad, like hugging a crying friend
    • Avoids danger, like not jumping from tall heights at the playground
    • Likes to be a “helper”
    • Changes behavior based on where she is (place of worship, library, playground)
    Language/Communication Milestones
    • Says sentences with four or more words
    • Says some words from a song, story, or nursery rhyme
    • Talks about at least one thing that happened during his day, like “I played soccer.”
    • Answers simple questions like “What is a coat for?” or “What is a crayon for?”
    Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
    • Names a few colors of items
    • Tells what comes next in a well-known story
    • Draws a person with three or more body parts
    Movement/Physical Development Milestones
    • Catches a large ball most of the time
    • Serves himself food or pours water, with adult supervision
    • Unbuttons some buttons
    • Holds crayon or pencil between fingers and thumb (not a fist)

    Other important things to share with the doctor…

    • What are some things you and your child do together?
    • What are some things your child likes to do?
    • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
    • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
    • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
    5 Years

    What most children do by this age:

    Social/Emotional Milestones
    • Follows rules or takes turns when playing games with other children
    • Sings, dances, or acts for you
    • Does simple chores at home, like matching socks or clearing the table after eating
    Language/Communication Milestones
    • Tells a story she heard or made up with at least two events. For example, a cat was stuck in a tree and a firefighter saved it
    • Answers simple questions about a book or story after you read or tell it to him
    • Keeps a conversation going with more than three back-and-forth exchanges
    • Uses or recognizes simple rhymes (bat-cat, ball-tall)
    Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
    • Counts to 10
    • Names some numbers between 1 and 5 when you point to them
    • Uses words about time, like “yesterday,” “tomorrow,” “morning,” or “night”
    • Pays attention for 5 to 10 minutes during activities. For example, during story time or making arts and crafts (screen time does not count)
    • Writes some letters in her name
    • Names some letters when you point to them
    Movement/Physical Development Milestones
    • Buttons some buttons
    • Hops on one foot

    Other important things to share with the doctor…

    • What are some things you and your child do together?
    • What are some things your child likes to do?
    • Is there anything your child does or does not do that concerns you?
    • Has your child lost any skills he/she once had?
    • Does your child have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?

    ABA Therapy, is it right for us?

    Learn More

    Insurances Accepted

    Contact Us

    News & Tips

    Our Services

    CDC Autism Data

    Careers

    FAQs

    Get the CDC's Free Milestone Tracker

    Milestones matter! Track your child’s milestones from age 2 months to 5 years with CDC’s easy-to-use illustrated checklists; get tips from CDC for encouraging your child’s development; and find out what to do if you are ever concerned about how your child is developing.

     Click here for the App for Apple iPhones

    Click here for the App for Android phones

    Questions?

    Submit a Contact Form

    Are You Ready to Enroll? Click Here

    =

    Are You Ready to Enroll? Click Here

    =

    Our Blog

    Latest News & Resources

    Easing the Stress of Chronic Caregiving

    Easing the Stress of Chronic Caregiving

    Findings from a recent report published by Family Process are not surprising: nearly 50 percent of mothers of children with autism reported symptoms of depression compared to mothers with neurotypical children over the same time period. The researchers also...

    read more

    Supporting a Grandchild with Autism

    Are you the grandparent of a grandchild diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Grandparents can play an important role in the life of their grandchild and develop a close bond that is beneficial and rewarding for both the child and the adult. Grandparents can...

    read more

    Early Diagnosis Means Better Outcomes

    Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be diagnosed at any age, it is described as a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first 24 months of life. ASD can usually be reliably diagnosed by the time children are two years old. It’s...

    read more

    Questions about insurance ?

    We support our clients with a dedicated insurance team member within our company — that has years of experience in managed care contracting, coding, authorizations and billing issues. We are your advocate and partner in maximizing the potential benefits of your insurance coverage.