Developmental Milestones

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Check out these milestones that represent typical development. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, please feel free to contact us today by dialing 2-1-1.

 

If your child isn’t able to do some of the items listed in their age range or for any tasks listed for a younger child, please talk to your child’s healthcare provider.

 

Click on the age you want to learn more about:

Communication

Makes gurgling sounds & coos
Smiles when you talk to him

Gross Motor

Moves arms and legs while on back
Holds head up longer than a few seconds when on tummy
Moves head side to side while on back

Fine Motor

Loosens fist when you put a toy near her hand
Touches face with hands

Problem Solving

Looks at objects that are 8-10 inches away
Follows a toy with eyes as it is moved side to side (10 inches away)
Follows a toy with eyes as it is moved up and down (10 inches away)

Personal Social

Cries when wet, hungry, tired, or wants to be held
Smiles at you after you smile at him or her

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t respond positively to attempts to engage
Doesn’t use both hands and both legs equally well
Can’t hold up head briefly while on tummy time
Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
Doesn’t calm self briefly by bringing hands to mouth

Communication

Smiles or gets excited to see you after you return
Stops crying when he hears parent’s voice
Laughs

Gross Motor

Holds head straight up while resting on her forearms
Holds head steady while sitting (unsupported)
Rolls from tummy to back

Fine Motor

Grasps toys briefly
Grabs or scratches at clothes or objects

Problem Solving

Looks at small toy while being held in a sitting position
Puts toys in his mouth

Personal Social

Touches hands when brought to center of body
Smiles at you before you smile at her

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t watch things as they move
Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
Isn’t able to put feet flat on surface while you support him
Can’t hold head steady

Communication

Plays with sounds, including grunts and growling
Makes sounds beginning with consonants, i.e. ka, ga, ba, da

Gross Motor

Rolls back to tummy
While you hold both hands, he supports his own weight while standing

Fine Motor

Picks up small toy and holds in center of hand
Tries to pick up small foods with a raking motion

Problem Solving

Reaches for a toy with both hands while sitting
Tries to get a toy she can see while on her back
Passes a toy back and forth from one hand to the other

Personal Social

Plays with self in mirror
Plays with feet

Talk to Doctor If

If her movements are not symmetrical
Shows no affection for caregivers
Doesn’t try to reach for objects around him
Doesn’t respond to sounds around him
Struggles getting items to mouth
Doesn’t roll in either direction
Seems stiff or floppy

Communication

Plays peek-a-boo
Makes two-syllable consonants sounds, i.e. baba, gaga, kaka, dada
Follows one command without gestures, i.e. “come here”

Gross Motor

Sits up straight on floor for several minutes
Bends down to pick up toy and returns to standing while holding onto furniture
Crawls

Fine Motor

Picks up small toys (rigid objects) and string (floppy objects) with thumb and finger
Picks up string (can be attached to a toy) with thumb and finger (floppy object)

Problem Solving

Bangs objects together or on table
Tries to get small foods out of a clear bottle (may not dump yet)
Dumps objects out of containers either by himself or by copying you

Personal Social

Feeds herself a cracker
Puts toy in your hand, but doesn’t let go of toy
Can push arms through a sleeve once his arm is in the hole of the sleeve

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t respond to her name
Doesn’t sit with help or bear weight on legs with support
Doesn’t babble, i.e. mama, baba, dada
Doesn’t play back and forth games
Doesn’t look where you point
Doesn’t move toys from one hand to the other
Doesn’t recognize familiar people

Communication

Can play a nursery game without parent showing him how, such as “Peek-a-boo”
Says 3 words (a “word” is a sound baby uses consistently to mean something)
Points to something to let you know he wants it

Gross Motor

Lowers self with control while holding onto furniture
Walks beside furniture while holding on with one hand
Takes several steps while you holds hands

Fine Motor

Throws small ball forward
Helps turn the pages of a book after you lift a page for him to grasp

Problem Solving

Finds a toy under a blanket after watching you hide it
Puts a toy or two in a container

Personal Social

Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
Throws a ball to you for you to return it to him
Plays with a stuffed animal by hugging it
Shy or nervous with strangers

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t crawl
Doesn’t point to things
Doesn’t say single words, i.e. mama or dada
Loses skills once able to do
Doesn’t learn gestures such as waving or shaking head

Communication

Says 10 or more words
Imitates two-word sentences (words may be difficult to understand)
Can point to correct pictures

Gross Motor

Walks with very little falling
Climbs on chair to reach something he wants
Walks down stairs if holding your hand or railing

Fine Motor

Builds a tower with two or more blocks
Can draw a line from top of paper to bottom after watching you do so
Puts a spoon right side up to eat

Problem Solving

Uses an object to reach something he wants, i.e. a stick or spoon
Turns bottle upside down to dump out crumb without being shown how

Personal Social

Pulls on your hand or clothes to get attention when she needs help
Drinks from cup and can put it down with little spilling
May have temper tantrums

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t offer a toy to own image in mirror
Doesn’t play with stuffed animal by hugging it
Doesn’t walk
Doesn’t say at least 6 words
Doesn’t notice or care if a caregiver leaves or returns
Doesn’t copy others
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Can follow three or more simple commands, i.e. close the door
Says two or three word sentences, i.e. see dog or mommy come home
Uses two or more words like “me”, “I”, “mine”, “you”

Gross Motor

Walks up or down at least two steps by self
Runs fairly well and can stop without falling or bumping into things

Fine Motor

Gets a spoon into mouth so food doesn’t spill (excludes runny liquids)
Uses turning motion with hand to turn objects like doorknobs and wind up toys
Makes a tower with seven or more blocks

Problem Solving

Pretends objects are something else, i.e. a cup becomes a telephone
Lines up four objects in a row after watching you do it

Personal Social

Copies activities you do, i.e. sweep, comb hair or shave
Does pretend play, i.e. feeds a stuffed animal and puts it to bed
Pushes toy on wheels, steers around objects and backs out of corners if unable to turn

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t use two word phrases, i.e. drink milk
You’re unable to understand most of what your child says
Doesn’t copy actions or words
Doesn’t follow simple instructions
Doesn’t walk steadily
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Points to seven body parts when you names them
Can do two simple directions in a row, i.e. put book on table, put coat away

Gross Motor

Can kick a ball without holding onto anything for support
Jumps with both feet leaving the floor at the same time
Can walk up stairs, using only one foot on each stair, while holding onto a railing

Fine Motor

Threads objects onto a string, such as beads, macaroni, pasta
Draws a circle and line from one side of the paper to the other after watching you do so

Problem Solving

Finds chair to stand on to reach something, i.e. to “help” you in kitchen
Repeats back two numbers in the same order after you say the two numbers
Tells you about a “picture” she drew, even if it’s a scribble

Personal Social

Uses a spoon to feed self with little spilling
Pulls loose-fitting pants around his feet up to his waist

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t walk steadily
Doesn’t understand simple instructions
Doesn’t use two word sentences
Doesn’t use intelligible words more than half of the time
Doesn’t spontaneously imitate new words when they are heard
Unable to have fears comforted
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Can tell you what is happening in the picture of a book, i.e. dog barking
Says both first and last name together

Gross Motor

Stands on one foot for about 1 second without holding onto anything
Throws a ball overhand
Jumps forward at least six inches with both feet leaving the ground at same time

Fine Motor

Tries to cut paper with child-safe scissors
Holds a pencil or crayon between fingers and thumb like an adult

Problem Solving

Makes a bridge with blocks and boxes after watching you do so
Repeats back three numbers in the same order after you say the three numbers

Personal Social

Puts on coat or shirt by self
Identifies self with correct gender
Takes turns by waiting while another child or adult takes a turn

Talk to Doctor If

Falls down a lot
If you are unable to understand child
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 once able to do

Communication

Names at least three items from a common category, i.e. cow, dog, pig
Follows three unrelated instructions, i.e. clap hands, open book, sit down
Sings a song from memory, i.e. Itsy Bitsy Spider

Gross Motor

Catches a large ball with both hands from five feet away
Climbs up ladder of playground slide and slides down without help
Hops up and down on one foot without losing balance

Fine Motor

Puts together a five to seven piece puzzle
Cuts a paper in half with child-safe scissors
Colors mostly within the lines in a coloring book
Draws a body with at least three body parts

Problem Solving

Identifies small circle when given choice of three different circle sizes
Names at least five different colors
Counts up to five objects in a row using the correct number and order
Dresses up and pretends to be a different person or imaginary animal

Personal Social

Washes hands with soap and water and dries off without help
Tells the names of two or more playmates (not siblings)
Dress or undresses self without help (except for snaps, buttons, zippers)
Wants to please friends

Talk to Doctor If

Has trouble scribbling
Shows no interest in make-believe or interactive games
Resists dressing, sleeping and using the toilet
Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside of family
Can’t retell a favorite story
Doesn’t understand “same” and “different”
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Uses four and five word sentences
Uses past-tense words for something that already happened, i.e. we walked
Uses comparison words, i.e. a car is big, but a bus is bigger

Gross Motor

Walks on tiptoes for 15 feet (about length of large car)
Hops forward on one foot for a distance of four to six feet
Skips using alternating feet

Fine Motor

Traces a line without going off the line more than two times
Copies triangles and other shapes
Copies letters in first name

Problem Solving

Counts to fifteen
Gives opposites, i.e. a rock is hard, and a pillow is _____ (soft)
Names at least four letters in first name

Personal Social

Uses toilet by self (goes to bathroom, sits on toilet, wipes, flushes, washes hands)
Takes turns and shares with other children

Talk to Doctor If

Doesn’t show wide range of emotions
Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy or sad)
Easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than five minutes
Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
Doesn’t draw pictures
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Develops expressive vocabulary rapidly, about 3,000 new words during the year
Understood by others consistently
Tells stories with series of events using chronological narrative format
Can maintain conversation topic and elaborate when listener does not understand
Begins to read and uses common words to sound out unfamiliar words

Gross Motor

Uses simple combination of movements, i.e. running and kicking a ball
Enjoys chasing and fleeing games, but hasn’t mastered stopping quickly
Moves in response to various rhythmical beats, i.e. slow and fast

Fine Motor

Creates images that combine variety of colors, forms and lines
Uses art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner
Prefers artwork that show families & groups, i.e. picture of a boy with dog

Problem Solving

Counts to 200 and count backwards from 20
Understands estimations, i.e. about, near, closer to, a little less than
Adds numbers together up to five, i.e. 2+3=5; subtract numbers from five, i.e. 5-1=4
Understands simple fractions
Learns days of the week, months, seasons and how to tell time

Personal Social

Shows more independence from parents and family
Copes poorly with failure and does not take criticism well
Identify, label and give reasons for own and others’ emotions, i.e. he’s sad because…
Able to resolve conflict by asking an adult for help or talking things through

Talk to Doctor If

Shows signs of hyperactivity or hypersensitivity
Becomes withdrawn
Refuses to go to school
Resists age-appropriate challenges
Insensitive to peers
Complains of persistent pain or fatigue
Prefers media over interactions with people
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Recognizes more words by sight
Reads with greater fluency (speed, accuracy and expression) and independence
Writing is more developed and interesting

Gross Motor

Rides a bike
Increased skills with dance, gymnastics and other physical activities

Fine Motor

Draws objects more realistically, often using their experiences, i.e. a family eating dinner
Uses different materials to create 2-D and 3-D art
Uses increased detail, accuracy and interpretation to draw and discuss images
Experiments with light, color and geometric shapes to create artistic designs

Problem Solving

Curious and asks lots of questions
Can do simple addition and subtraction with three-digit numbers
Can use rulers to measure units

Personal Social

Attention span increases
Handles last-minutes changes
Tolerate less-detailed instructions
Imitate actions of friends and peers at school
Develop games with rules and treat peers with respect
Act out real-life and imaginative situations through dramatic play and dramatization

Talk to Doctor If

Shows signs of hyperactivity or hypersensitivity
Becomes withdrawn
Refuses to go to school
Resists age-appropriate challenges
Insensitive to peers
Complains of persistent pain or fatigue
Prefers media over interactions with people
Loses skills once able to do

Communication

Reads more to learn about different topics
Chooses books based on personal preference, topic or author
Writing skills continue to develop
Language and literacy skills laying groundwork for future academic achievement

Gross Motor

Begins to identify self as “athletic” or “unathletic”
Skill levels vary based on amount of physical activity; sedentary children less skilled

Fine Motor

Draws people with ten body parts, i.e. hair, pupils, ears, fingers, feet
Draws people and objects in motion
Uses color to show emotion
Uses greater detail, i.e. picture of family

Problem Solving

Uses own resources or seek out assistance from peers before seeking adult help
Ability to solve problems with creative strategies
Counts to 1,000
Can do simple multiplication

Personal Social

Concentrates on tasks for longer periods of time
Enjoys sharing viewpoints on a variety of topics with others
Developed sense of self-worth; express frustration in areas perceived as a weakness
Uses coping strategies to deal with challenging situations and mask emotions

Talk to Doctor If

Shows signs of hyperactivity or hypersensitivity
Becomes withdrawn
Refuses to go to school
Resists age-appropriate challenges
Insensitive to peers
Complains of persistent pain or fatigue
Prefers media over interactions with people
Loses skills once able to do

Every family will have the desire, resources, and confidence to make the best decision for their child’s development. Also, every child will be screened using a valid, evidenced-based tool starting at birth.

Our Vision

Help Me Grow Alabama

Help Me Grow Alabama is a program of the Alabama Partnership for Children as an affiliate of the Help Me Grow National Network.

 

Help Me Grow Alabama is funded by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education through the Preschool Development Grant, the Alabama Department of Human Resources, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health through a Project LAUNCH Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association.

 

Help Me Grow Alabama partners with 2-1-1 Connects Alabama for implementation in nine regions of the state.

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