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Developmental Milestones: Ages Birth to Five Years

Although each child develops at their own pace, there are certain milestones they should reach at each age and stage. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed age-based developmental milestones.  These are some of the milestones to look for:

One Month Old:

  • Brings hands within range of mouth and eyes
  • Keeps hands in tight fists
  • Strong reflex movements
  • Moves head side to side while on stomach
  • Eyes wander and occasionally cross, focuses 8-12 inches away
  • Recognizes some sounds and may turn toward familiar sound and voices
  • Prefers human faces most along with black and white or highly-contrasting patterns
  • Prefers soft rather than course sensations and dislikes abrupt or rough handling


Three Months Old:

  • Raises head and chest while lying on stomach
  • Open and shuts hands, grasps and brings hands to mouth
  • Stretches legs out and kicks while laying on back or stomach
  • Watches faces intently and follows moving objects (tracks)
  • Babbles and coos
  • Has a social smile
  • Begins to imitate some facial expressions


Seven Months Old:

  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits up with or without support of hands
  • Reaches out and grabs, transfers object from hand to hand
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Supports weight on legs (bears weight)
  • Responds to own name
  • Enjoys social play
  • Babbles chains of consonants
  • Uses voice to express joy or displeasure
  • Interested in mirror objects


Twelve Months Old:

  • Gets into sitting position without help
  • Crawls forward on belly pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Pulls self up to stand and stands momentarily without support
  • Walks holding onto furniture and may walk without support
  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Puts objects in and out of containers
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Says dada, mama and tries to imitate words
  • Explores objects in many different ways (banging, touching, dropping, shaking)
  • Finds hidden objects


Two Years Old:

  • Begins to run
  • Pulls and carries toys while walking
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs on/off furniture without assistance
  • Scribbles spontaneously
  • Builds towers of blocks, four or more high
  • Points to an object or picture when it is named
  • Says several single words and uses two-to-four word sentences
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Imitates others, especially adults and older children
  • Increasingly aware of his or herself as separate from others
  • Begins to express defiant behavior


Three-Four Years Old:

  • Hops and stands on one foot for up to five seconds
  • Kicks a ball forward and throws a ball overhead
  • Moves forward and backwards with agility
  • Peddles a tricycle
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Uses scissors
  • Speaks clear enough for strangers to understand
  • Speaks in five to six word sentences
  • Correctly names some colors
  • Counts to 3 (3yrs) and 10 (4yrs)
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Dresses and undresses self
  • Follows 3-part command
  • More independent


Four-Five Years Old:

  • Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
  • Hops, somersaults, swings, climbs and may be able to skip
  • Can ride a bicycle (with training wheels)
  • Draws circles, squares, and triangles
  • Draws a person with a body
  • Prints name (5yrs)
  • Uses future tense and tells stories
  • Speaks in sentences using more than five words
  • Knows name, address and phone number
  • Counts to 10 (4yrs) and 20 (5yrs)
  • Knows and can identify at least four colors
  • Wants to please and be like friends
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Better understands the concept of time
  • Usually cares for own toilet needs

Should you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, contact your child’s pediatrician.