Milestones for Growing & Learning
Watching children grow is one of the many joys of life. As they grow, your children will experience physical, cognitive, and social-emotional milestones, which will help you recognize the different stages they have reached or passed. You’ll be surprised at how much they learn and change in such a short time!
Remember – kids develop at their own unique pace, so use these milestones as general guidelines.
Milestones to Look for:
Birth to 3 months
Smiles and coos.
Makes sounds, facial expressions, and movements to communicate that he or she feels sleepy, hungry, happy, or uncomfortable.
Recognizes faces, touch, voices, and smell.
Relies on you to respond to signals and provide comfort.
3 to 6 months
Responds to you with a few different sounds.
Uses smiles and laughter to recognize you and to appreciate playtime.
6 to 9 months
Copies your actions—like waving bye-bye and shaking their head “no.”
Expresses taste preferences.
Babbles and makes sounds to communicate.
9 to 12 months
Understands many words.
Says a few words like “mama” and “dada.”
Can follow simple directions like “go get the ball.”
Cries when you leave.
12 to 15 months
Looks at a familiar object when you name it.
Points to ask for something or to get help.
May say “no.”
15 to 18 months
Comforts others or tries to make them laugh with sounds and actions.
Understands simple questions.
Says as many as 20 words.
18 to 24 months
Understands up to 200 words and uses between 50 and 70 words.
Understands “no”—but may have trouble controlling feelings and actions.
Asks questions and constructs short sentences of two words or more.
24 to 30 months
Uses language—about 50 words, including “no,” “me,” and “mine”—to express feelings.
Laughs at silly stories and actions of others.
30 to 36 months
Uses as many as 900 words.
Understands spatial concepts like “over” and “under.”
Follows two-step commands (“go get your shoes and put them on”).
3 to 4 years
Uses pronouns (e.g. “I,” “you,” “we,” “they”) and some plurals.
May speak in sentences of 5-6 words.
Acts out stories.
4 to 5 years
Speaks clearly enough to be understood by strangers.
Uses verbs that end in “ing.”
Tells simple stories.
Understands “same” and “different” and “behind” and “next to.”
5 to 6 years
Uses compound and complex sentences.
Understands the concept of rhyming.
Follows three-step commands (e.g. “put on your hat, put on your coat, and stand by the door”).
Correctly names at least four colors and counts at least 10 objects.