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Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones are the gauge by which a child’s maturation is monitored. Milestones are skills which are performed at certain age ranges as a child grows. Parents, caregivers, doctors and other health care professionals closely monitor when a child achieves or fails to achieve a developmental milestone. Hearing a child say his or her first word can be the source of much anticipated excitement, but it can also be a source of worry if not performed in a timely manner.


Never underestimate the intuition of a parent or caregiver. If you feel your child is not achieving developmental milestones appropriately, contact his pediatrician. If further intervention is needed, an evaluation by an occupational therapist, physical therapist and/or speech pathologist may be recommended.              


For More Information

For more information about your child’s development, call (662) 377-7226 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).


Many guides are available on typical achievement of developmental milestones. Here are some general guidelines:




Mastered Skills

(most kids can do)

Emerging Skills

( ½ of kids can do)

Advanced Skills

(a few kids can do)

1 Month

- Tight hand grasp, predominantly  fisted.

- Eyes follow to midline.

- Can turn head to side when prone.

- Vocalizes: oohs, aahs, coos.

- Follows objects briefly with eyes.

- Able to see black-and-white patterns

- Holds head at 45 degree angle in prone.

- Smiles, laughs.

2 Months

- Fist not clinched tightly.

- Turn from side to back.

- Holds head in midline.

- Able to lift head momentarily when prone.

- Vocalizes: gurgles and coos.

- Follows objects with eyes.

- Makes smoother movements.

- Holds head at 45 degree angle in prone.

- Smiles, laughs.

- Lifts head and shoulders in prone (mini-pushup).

- Holds head steady.

- Can bear weight on legs.

3 Months

- Momentarily holds rattle.

- Smiles responsively.

- Attracted to watches & own hand.

- Eyes follow 180 degrees.

- Little or no head lag.

- Supports head & shoulders while prone.

- Recognizes your scent and face.

- Recognizes your voice.

- Does mini-pushup.

- Blows spit bubbles.

- Squeals, coos, and gurgles.


- Turns toward loud sounds.

- Can bring hands to midline, bats at toys.

- Rolls over from tummy to back.

4 Months

- Picks up objects in reach with whole hand.

- Can carry objects to mouth.

- Can sit supporting self if propped.

- Turns head to object or sound.

- Rolls from back to side.

- Can control head when pulled to a sitting position.


- Rolls over from tummy to back.

- Can grasp a toy.

- Cuts 1st tooth.

- Imitates sounds: “baba,” “dada.”

5 Months

- Plays with toes.

- Grasps objects voluntarily with both hands.

- Can roll from stomach to back.

- Can bear most of weight when standing.

- Holds head erect & steady when sitting.

- No head lag when pulled to sitting.

- Turns toward new sounds.

- Rolls over in both directions.

- Recognizes own name.

- Mouths objects.

- Separation anxiety may begin.

- Sits momentarily without support.

6 Months

- Transfers object from hand to hand.

- Can release objects.

- Reaches with arms.

- Sits briefly with support.

- Turns completely over easily.

- Imitates sounds.

- Is ready to begin solid foods (stage 1 baby food).

- Mouths objects.

-  Sits without support.

- Passes objects from hand to hand.

- Jabbers or combines syllables.

- Performing more weight shifts for pre-crawling.

- Pulls objects to self.


7 Months

- Bangs objects on a table.

- Bears own weight on feet with support.

- Turns completely over.

- Can maintain quadruped.

- Assumes sitting from quadruped.

- Sits without support.

- Jabbers or combines syllables.

- Performing more weight shifts for pre-crawling.

- Pulls objects to self.

- Stranger anxiety more obvious.


- Bangs objects together.

- Begins to understand object permanence.

- Stands while holding onto something.

- Waves goodbye.

8 Months

- Bangs objects together.

- Reaches for toys out of reach.

- Begins to pincer grasp.

- Sits unsupported.

- Bears own weight on feet.

- Sits, leaning forward on both hands.

- Says “mama” and “dada” not specific.

- Crawls.

- Points at objects.

- Searches for hidden objects.

- Stands while holding onto something.

- Indicates wants with gestures.

- Picks things up with thumb-finger pincer grasp.

- Pulls self to standing, cruises.

9 Months

- Effective pincher grasp.

- Turns objects over.

- Brings two objects for comparison.

- Hand dominance appears.

- Can squeeze, slide, push, pull and rip.

- Pulls-to-stand through kneeling.

- Creeping on hands and knees.

- Moves quadruped to sitting.

- Cruises on furniture.

- Drinks from sippy cup.

- Eats with fingers.


- Plays patty-cake and peek-a-boo.

- Says “mama” and “dada” to the correct parent.

10 Months

- Holds bottle by self.

- Feeds self finger foods.

- Sits by falling down.

- Can change from prone to sitting.

- Crawls well, with belly off the ground.

- Pulls self to sitting.

- Plays patty-cake and peek-a-boo.

- Says “mama” and “dada” to the correct parent.

- Indicates wants with gestures.

- Puts objects into a container.

- Stands alone for a few seconds.

11 Months

- Puts one object after another in a container.

- Drops objects deliberately.

- Can reach backward when sitting.

- Walks, holding onto support.

- Says “mama” and “dada” to correct parent.

- Stands alone for a few seconds.

- Cruises.

- Plays patty-cake and peek-a-boo.

- Puts object into a container.

- Understands “no” and simple instructions.

- Stoops from standing position.

- Says one word besides “mama” and “dada.”


12 Months

- Can turn the pages in a book.

- Releases an object into a cup.

- Can reach for, pick up & give back objects.

- Begins walking alone.

- Can sit down from standing, with help.

- Imitates others’ activities.

- Indicates wants with gestures.

- Takes a few steps.

- Says one word besides “mama” and “dada.”

- Walks alone.

- Says two words.

- Scribbles with a crayon.

13-15 Months

- Builds a tower of two objects.

- Begins self feeding.

- Spontaneous scribble.

- Uses 2-3 words skillfully (“hi” and “bye”).

- Bends over and picks up object.

- Plays with ball.

- Walks backward.

- Empties containers of contents.

- Scribbles with a crayon.

- Runs

- Uses “no” as favorite word.

- Responds to instructions (“give me a kiss”).

- Points to 1 body part when asked.

- Initiates games.

- “Helps” around the house.

- Puts his fingers to his mouth and says “shhh.”

16-19 months

- Jumps in place.

- Runs with a lack of coordination.

- Turns pages of a book.

- Has temper tantrums.

- Uses 6 words regularly.

- Likes riding toys.

- Scribbles well.

- Uses spoon and fork.

- Throws a ball underhand.

- Understands as many as 200 words.

- Recognizes when something is wrong.

- Dances to music.

- Sorts toys by color, shape, or size.

- Kicks ball forward.

- Washes and dries own hands with help.

- Points to picture or object when you call it by name.

- May know when he needs to pee.  Shows signs of toilet training.

- Takes toys apart and puts them back together.

20-23 months

- Plays make believe.

- Ascends stairs step-to pattern.

- Running more coordinated.

- Jumps off of bottom step.

- Feeds doll.

- Takes off own clothes.

- Names simple picture in a book.

- Uses 50-70 words.

- Kicks ball forward.

- Opens doors.

- Sings simple tunes.

- Takes more of an interest in playing with other kids.

- Draws a straight line.

- Names several body parts.

- Does simple puzzles.


- Talks about self (likes, dislikes)

- Asks “why?”

- Understands opposites

- Might be ready for a big bed.

- Puts on loose-fitting clothes.