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The many ways your children grow and change

Watching children grow and change is one of the many joys of life. Refer to this guide often throughout the first years of your child’s life. You’ll be surprised at how much they learn in such a short time! Remember, every child develops skills and abilities at their own unique pace. If at any time you have questions about your child’s growth and development, please take the opportunity to discuss them with your family’s healthcare provider.

Milestones to look for:

Birth to 3 months

  • Smiles and coos.
  • Recognizes faces, touch, voices and smell.
  • Grips your finger or a toy placed in his or her hands.

3 to 6 months

  • Rolls over from front to back.
  • Sits with help and holds head steady.
  • Responds to you with a few different sounds.

6 to 9 months

  • Babbles and makes sounds to communicate. Smiles at his or her reflection in a mirror.
  • Sits independently; may crawl, scoot or pull up on furniture to stand.
  • May love meeting new people—or may be shy at first.

9 to 12 months

  • Makes sounds and movements to communicate wants.
  • Says a few words like “mama” and “dada”.
  • Figures out how things work through repetition (e.g. dropping his or her toy for you to pick up again and again).

12 to 15 months

  • Walks independently—or by holding a hand.
  • Throws a ball.
  • Imitates, like talking on a phone or stirring in a pot.

15 to 18 months

  • Finger-feeds self, starts using a spoon and drinks from a cup without help.
  • Walks, runs and climbs, scribbles with a crayon and builds a tower with blocks.
  • Has difficulty handling feelings; has tantrums and needs help to calm down.

18 to 24 months

  • Learns new words every day; may say 50 to 100 words by his or her second birthday and make two-word sentences.
  • Wants to do things independently.
  • Uses imagination (e.g. making noises while playing cars).

24 to 30 months

  • Links words together; speaks clearly enough to be understood half the time.
  • Opens and closes things to see how they work; sorts similar objects together.
  • Gets scared; not always sure what’s real and what’s pretend.

30 to 36 months

  • Does “big kid stuff” like running, riding a tricycle, drawing or getting dressed.
  • Knows his or her first name and age.
  • Makes friends and plays cooperatively.

3 to 4 years

  • Remembers what happened yesterday; acts out stories.
  • Separates more easily from parents; openly expresses affection.
  • Builds a tower of 6 blocks.

4 to 5 years

  • Tries to solve problems; is interested in new experiences.
  • Cooperates with friends; becomes more independent.
  • Throws a ball overhand, kicks a ball and catches a bounced ball most of the time.

5 to 6 years

  • 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.
  • Brushes teeth and cares for other personal needs.