Developmental Milestones

Baby crawling indoors smiling

The birth of a baby can be a joyous occasion for many new parents. At the same time, it may also be a time when parents are faced with the sobering realization that they are responsible for both their child’s immediate survival and long‐term well‐being.

During the first year of life, your baby will grow and develop at an amazing speed. Their weight will double in 5 to 6 months, and triple by their first birthday. And your child will constantly be learning. Major achievements—called developmental milestones—include rolling over, sitting up, standing, and possibly walking.

No two babies are exactly alike. Your baby will develop at its own pace. Most babies reach certain milestones at similar ages. However, it’s not unusual for a healthy, “normal” baby to fall behind in some areas or race ahead in others.

Baby sitting indoorsThe following milestones are only guidelines. Your baby’s health care provider will evaluate your baby’s development at each well-baby visit. Remember: Always talk to your child’s health care professional if you think your baby is lagging behind.

The overviews in this guide provide a glimpse into what you can expect at each stage of your child’s development, including:

  • Physical development: Learn how your child’s body is growing and changing and take notice of the new motor skills they are gaining at each age.
  • Emotional development: Discover what type of emotional changes your child is experiencing at each stage and the emotional development milestones kids in each age group meet.
  • Social development: Read about how kids interact, develop friendships, and connect with the world around them at each pivotal stage.
  • Cognitive development: Uncover the critical thinking and intellectual skills kids develop at each age and learn about their speech and language development, the way they play, and the key cognitive milestones they reach.

cute baby laying on her belly looking at cameraSocial/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

Funny little kid wearing in diaper. Portrait of a cute baby 6 months old lying on a white blanket. Beautiful toddler. Child after bath or shower on a fresh towel.Looking at the camera. Cute kid playing with his feet.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

Curious toddler baby sits on studio blue background. Funny child boy at the age of six months with surprise on his face, copy spaceSocial/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

Asian baby valentine with red heart smiling and sitting on pink background. Cute 6 months baby sitting with copy space use as concept of valentine, love, baby or kid department in hospital.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 toward himself
  • Sits without support

Full length portrait of cute toddler drinking water from bottle, one year old kid playing with baby cup, adorable curly hair boy looking away, being thirsty, wearing white bodysuit.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

childhood and people concept - little african american baby girl playing with toy blocks at homeSocial/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

Cute little boy eating tasty baby food against color backgroundSocial/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

Happy toddler baby boy is playing walking behind a soccer ball on a stone path, first steps. Smiling child in white clothes walks with a ball, age one yearSocial/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

childhood, literature and reading concept - happy little african american girl with book over grey backgroundSocial/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 together, 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

Little girl smiling and holding markers on white tableSocial/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

Asian adorable girl is doing homework. Children paint with wooden colors on a coloring book. White paper. Child learn art. On a white wall background. Kid is 4 years old. Home school. Stay at home.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)

Pretty three year old waving and saying hello in a studio against a blue backgroundSocial/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
CDCs Milestone tracker app
CDCs Milestone tracker app - Spanish

*Source CDC’s Developmental Milestones https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html

“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools.

es_MXSpanish
Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.