Developmental Milestones

If you or your doctor thinks there might be a delay, either of you may reach out to our team and refer your child for an evaluation with a pediatric therapist by contacting our team at referrals@solacehealthcare.com or completing the referral form on our website or calling us at 303-432-8487 option 1.

2 Months:

Social and Emotional:
  • Begins to smile at people
  • Can briefly calm herself (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand)
  • Tries to look at parent

Language/Communication:

  • Coos, makes gurgling sounds
  • Turns head toward sounds

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Pays attention to faces
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
  • Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy
  • Makes smoother movements with arms and legs

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Can’t hold head up when pushing up when on tummy

4 Months:

Social and Emotional:
  • Smiles spontaneously, especially at people
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, likes smiling or frowning

Language/Communication:

  • Begins to babble
  • Babbles with expression and copies sounds he hears
  • Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain or being tired

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Lets you know if he is happy or sad
  • Reaches for toy with one hand
  • Uses hands and eyes together, such as seeing a toy and reaching for it
  • Follows moving things with eyes from side to side
  • Watches face closely
  • Recognizes familiar people and things at a distance

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Holds head steady, unsupported
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are on a hard surface
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back
  • Can hold a toy and shake it and swing at dangling toys
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • When lying stomach, pushes up to elbows

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Can’t hold head steady
  • Doesn’t coo or makes sounds
  • Doesn’t bring things to mouth
  • Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a hard surface
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions

6 Months:

Social and Emotional:
  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
  • Likes to place with others, especially parents
  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror

Language/Communication:

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
  • Responds to own name
  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m”, “b”)

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Looks around at things nearby
  • Brings things to mouth
  • Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)
  • Beings to sit without support
  • When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce
  • Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t try to get things that are in reach
  • Shows no affection for caregivers
  • Doesn’t respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting things to mouth
  • Doesn’t make vowel sounds (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”)
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • Doesn’t laugh or make squealing sounds
  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll

9 Months:

Social and Emotional:
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • May be clingy with familiar adults
  • Has favorite toys

Language/Communication:

  • Understands “no”
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “bababababa”
  • Copies sounds and gestures of others
  • Uses fingers to point at things

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Watches the path of something as it falls
  • Looks for things she sees you hide
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Puts things in his mouth
  • Moves things smoothly from one hand to the other
  • Picks up things like cereal o’s between thumb and index finger

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Stands, holding on
  • Can get into sitting position
  • Sits without support
  • Pulls to stand
  • Crawls

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t bear weight on legs with support
  • Doesn’t sit with help
  • Doesn’t babble (“mama,” “baba,” “dada”)
  • Doesn’t play any games involving back-and-forth play
  • Doesn’t respond to own name
  • Doesn’t seem to recognize familiar people
  • Doesn’t look where you point
  • Doesn’t transfer toys from one hand to the other

1 Year:

Social and Emotional:
  • Nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Language/Communication:

  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

18 Months:

Social and Emotional:
  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by

Language/Communication:

  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t point to show things to others
  • Can’t walk
  • Doesn’t know what familiar things are for
  • Doesn’t copy others
  • Doesn’t gain new words
  • Doesn’t have at least 6 words
  • Doesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had

2 Years:

Social and Emotional:
  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication:

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Stands on tiptoes
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Doesn’t copy actions and words
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steadily
  • Loses skills she once had

3 Years:

Social and Emotional:
  • Copies adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting
  • Takes turns in games
  • Shows concern for crying friend
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad
  • May get upset with major changes in routine
  • Dresses and undresses self

Language/Communication:

  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like “in,” “on,” and “under”
  • Says first name, age, and sex
  • Names a friend
  • Says words like “I,” “me,” “we,” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds towers of more than 6 blocks
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)

Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Can’t work simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, turning handle)
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences
  • Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  • Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Loses skills he once had

4 Years:

Social and Emotional:
  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Would rather play with other children than by himself
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in

Language/Communication:

  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she”
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”
  • Tells stories
  • Can say first and last name

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Names some colors and some numbers
  • Understands the idea of counting
  • Starts to understand time
  • Remembers parts of a story
  • Understands the idea of “same” and “different”
  • Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Starts to copy some capital letters
  • Plays board or card games
  • Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  • Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food

5 Years:

Social and Emotional:
  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like friends
  • More likely to agree with rules
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Is aware of gender
  • Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself <adult supervision is still needed>)
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative

Language/Communication:

  • Speaks very clearly
  • Tells a simple story using full sentences
  • Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”
  • Says name and address

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):

  • Counts 10 or more things
  • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
  • Knows about things used everyday at, like money and food

Movement/Physical Development:

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops; may be able to skip
  • Can do a somersault
  • Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
  • Can use the toilet on her own
  • Swings and climbs

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
  • Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy or sad)
  • Unusually withdrawn and not active
  • Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Doesn’t respond to people, or responds only superficially
  • Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities
  • Can’t give first and last name
  • Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly
  • Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
  • Doesn’t draw pictures
  • Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help
  • Loses skills he once had