You can follow your child’s development by watching how he or she plays, learns, speaks, and acts. Milestones are important because they let us know if a child is gaining skills in the time frame generally expected. Watch for these milestones in your child, and remember that because all children are different, some will be a bit early or a bit late on some of these milestones. If you have concerns about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician.

To learn what’s considered “typical” see CDC Developmental Milestones here.

Birth to 12 months (Babies)

  • Able to calm or self-quiet for short periods
  • Express needs by crying
  • Smiles spontaneously to main caregivers voice, face, smile
  • Enjoys being cuddled
  • Responds to their name
  • Shows emotions of frustration, surprise and interest
  • Responds happily to play interactions with peers

12 to 36 months (Toddlers)

  • Begins to follow simple rules
  • Temper tantrums are common and appropriate
  • Enjoys playing by themselves or beside other children
  • Defends their own possessions
  • Beginning to become independent and will be testing their limits
  • Expressing new emotions such as jealousy, affection, pride and shame
  • Begins to initiate some activities

3 to 5 years (Preschoolers)

  • Enjoys pretending with other children
  • Beginning to learn to share
  • Demonstrates improved turn taking
  • Needs clear and consistent rules
  • Needs to be encouraged to express their feelings with words
  • Beginning to take responsibility for actions
  • Friends are more interesting than adults
  • Has some ability to recognize and understand the feelings of others

5 to 8 years (Elementary Students)

  • Shows more independence from parents and family
  • Starts to think about the future
  • Pays more attention to friendships and teamwork
  • Wants to be liked and accepted by friends
  • Shows rapid development of mental skills
  • Learns better ways to describe experiences
  • Has less focus on self and more concern for others