Child development milestones

From birth to 2 years, children develop very rapidly. These changes affect motor skills, vision, comprehension and communication. During the first 2 years, infants progress from being totally dependent on their carers to meet their needs to being able to run, speak over 50 words and feed themselves with a spoon.

Click on the images at the top to show childhood developmental milestones for each age.

child development milestones: newbornchild development milestones: 3 months
child development milestones: 6 months
child development milestones: 12 monthschild development milestones: 18 monthschild development milestones: 24 months
child development milestones: newborn

Developmental milestones

Newborn

  • Movement takes the form of generalised reflexes, involving the whole body
  • Hands are held in fists most of the time
  • Focuses on faces and other objects at close range (20-30 cm)
  • Is sensitive to touch and to pain
  • Has well developed sense of smell and after a few days will recognise the scent of own mother
  • Can hear all sounds in environment but will respond most to loud or high-pitched noises
  • Recognises and prefers mother’s voice
  • Can taste different flavours and prefers sweet tastes
  • Communication is limited to crying

3 months

  • Able to lift head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Hands unfisted (open) most of the time
  • Begins to develop hand-eye coordination; e.g. bats at dangling objects
  • Watches faces intently; follows moving objects
  • Recognises familiar objects/people at a distance
  • Turns head in the direction of sound
  • Begins to imitate sounds
  • Has a variety of cries, e.g. hunger, pain
  • Smiles and laughs
  • Makes sounds in response to hearing someone speak
  • May imitate some movements and facial expressions

6 months

  • Sits up with support and rolls over
  • May start to push self up or try to bear some weight on legs
  • Full head control
  • Reaches for and grasps objects, e.g. a finger
  • Able to transfer an object from hand to hand
  • Vision may be fully developed
  • Starts to babble (join consonants and vowels together repetitively)

12 months

  • Stands alone
  • First independent steps or walks with hand held
  • Bangs blocks together, stacks objects or nests them inside each other
  • Holds items between thumb and forefinger
  • Makes gestures, e.g. waving
  • Speaks first words and associates words with meaning
  • Can follow a simple command if accompanied by a gesture
  • Uses exclamations, e.g. “uh-oh!”
  • Responds to “no”
  • May begin to form relationships

18 months

  • Walks alone
  • Hurls a ball
  • Sits down on small chair
  • Climbs onto furniture
  • Will feed self using a spoon but spills food; drinks from a cup
  • Speaks 10-25 words
  • Able to point to objects or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and parts of body

24 months

  • Runs well without falling
  • Jumps
  • Walks up and down stairs alone
  • Kicks a ball
  • Feeds self with a spoon and spills little food
  • Speaks 50+ words
  • Knows and speaks own name
  • Connects words into short phrases

NOTE: Development varies widely from child to child. The above should be used as a general guide only. If you are concerned about the development of your child, please consult your doctor or health care professional.

Last Reviewed: 19 March 2010
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References

1. Healthy Children [website], developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental milestones: 1 month (updated 2010, 18 Mar). Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/pages/Developmental-Milestones-1-Month.aspx (accessed 2010, Mar 29)
2. Healthy Children [website], developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental milestones: 3 months (updated 2010, 18 Mar). Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/pages/Developmental-Milestones-3-Months.aspx (accessed 2010, Mar 29)
3. Healthy Children [website], developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental milestones: 7 months (updated 2010, 18 Mar). Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/pages/Developmental-Milestones-7-Months.aspx (accessed 2010, Mar 29)
4. Healthy Children [website], developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental milestones: 12 months (updated 2010, 18 Mar). Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/pages/Developmental-Milestones-12-Months.aspx (accessed 2010, Mar 29)
5. Healthy Children [website], developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental milestones: 2 year olds (updated 2010, 18 Mar). Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/toddler/pages/Developmental-Milestones-2-Year-Olds.aspx (accessed 2010, Mar 29)
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