From my teaching experience, parents always hit a panic about whether their little one is on track with their Milestones. We have to also remember every child is different and develops in their own little way.

Milestones in the Early Years

By Busy Kiddo    Posted on Aug 21, 2020

From my teaching experience, parents always hit a panic about whether their little one is on track with their Milestones. We have to also remember every child is different and develops in their own little way. Yes, when a child is delayed by a lot in the developmental areas, we can always get professional advice for some feedback and then take it from there if necessary. Here is a little bit of information to ease your mind with the milestones of your little one.

2 Months Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Babies begin to smile at people.
  • They can briefly calm themselves.
  • They try to look at their parents.

Language and Communication

  • Makes gurgling sounds and starts to 'coo'.
  • Reacts and starts turning head towards sounds.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Begin to pay attention to faces.
  • Begins to recognise people at a distance and follow objects with eye movement.
  • Begins to show signs of boredom if an activity doesn't change.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Begins to push up during tummy time and hold head up.
  • Makes easier movements with arms and legs.

4 Months Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Smiles impulsively, especially at people.
  • Enjoys playtime with people and may begin to cry when play stops.
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions by others such as; frowning or smiling.

Language and Communication

  • The baby begins to babble.
  • Adds some facial expressions while babbling and tries to copy sounds that he/she hears.
  • Cries in different ways to indicate hunger, pain or tiredness.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Expresses feelings of happiness and sadness.
  • Responds to affection.
  • Begins to reach for a toy with one hand.
  • Uses hand-eye coordination, using hands and eyes together when seeing a toy and then reaching for it.
  • Uses eye movement to follow moving objects from side to side.
  • Looks at faces in-depth.
  • Recognises objects at a distance and recognises familiar people.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Holds head up steadily without support.
  • When feet are placed on a hard surface, they will push down on legs.
  • May roll over from tummy to back without assistance.
  • Is able to hold a toy and shake it as well as swinging hand at hanging toys.
  • Brings hands to mouth.
  • Pushes up to elbows when lying on stomach.

6 Months Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Begins to recognise if someone is a stranger as they know familiar faces.
  • Enjoys playing with others, especially with parents.
  • Shows response to other peoples emotions.
  • Likes looking at self in mirrors.

Language and Communication

  • Makes sounds in response to other sounds.
  • When babbling, starts to string vowels together such as; 'oh,' 'eh,' and 'ah' and enjoys taking turns with a parent while making these sounds.
  • Shows response to own name.
  • Makes sounds to display joy and unhappiness.
  • Begins to 'say' consonant sounds, jabbering away with, 'm,' 'b' etc.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Looks at things nearby.
  • Brings objects to mouth.
  • Displays curiosity about things and tries to reach for objects that are out of reach.
  • Begins passing objects from one hand to another.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Begins to sit without support
  • Supports weight on legs and might make a bouncing movement when standing.
  • Rocks back and forth and may sometimes crawl backwards before going forward.

9 Months Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • May show being afraid of strangers.
  • Clingy with familiar adults.
  • Has his/her favourite toys.

Language and Communication

  • Understands the word 'no'.
  • Starts to make a lot of different sounds.
  • Copies others with gestures and sounds.
  • Uses his/her finger to point at objects.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Follows the path of an object as it falls.
  • When you hide objects, they will look for them if they've seen you hide it.
  • Plays the game 'peek-a-boo'.
  • Puts objects in his/her mouth.
  • Moves objects with ease from one hand to the other.
  • Is able to pick up objects between their thumb and index finger.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands up while holding on.
  • Can get into a sitting position.
  • Sits without any support.
  • Pulls upon an object to stand up.
  • Crawls

1 Year Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Displays shyness around strangers.
  • Cries when their mom or dad leave.
  • Has favourite things and people.
  • Displays a sense of fear in some situations.
  • When he/she wants to hear a story, they hand you a book.
  • When trying to seek attention, he/she will repeat sounds or actions.
  • Tries to assist when getting dressed by putting out an arm or a leg.

Language and Communication

  • Displays response to simple verbal requests.
  • Uses basic gestures such as; shaking head 'no' or waving 'goodbye'.
  • Changes tone when making sounds.
  • Says words such as 'mama' and 'dada' and exclamations like 'uh-oh!'
  • Tries to say some words that you say.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores objects in different ways such as; shaking, banging and throwing.
  • Finds hidden objects with ease.
  • Looks at the correct picture or object when it is named.
  • Copies gestures.
  • Begins to use objects in the correct manner such as; drinking from a cup, brushing hair, etc.
  • Bangs 2 objects together.
  • Puts objects into a container and takes objects out of a container.
  • Let's go of objects that they are holding onto without help.
  • Pokes with their index finger (pointer finger).
  • Follows simple instructions such as; 'pick up the toys'.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Is able to get to a sitting position without help.
  • Pulls self up to stand and walks while holding onto furniture.
  • May take a few steps without holding onto anything.
  • May stand alone without assistance.

18 Months Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Enjoys handing objects to others as a form of play.
  • May have moments of temper tantrums.
  • May be afraid of unfamiliar people.
  • Displays affection towards familiar people.
  • Plays pretend games such as 'feeding a doll'.
  • May cling to caregivers when in new situations or environments.
  • Points to something of interest to show others.
  • Explores independently but with a parent nearby.

Language and Communication

  • Is able to say several single words.
  • Says and shakes head to indicate 'no'.
  • Points to show what he/she wants.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Identifies and knows what ordinary objects are such as; a telephone, a brush and a spoon.
  • Points to get attention from others.
  • Displays interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed it.
  • Points to at least 1 body part.
  • Is able to scribble independently.
  • Is able to follow a 1-step verbal instruction/command without a gesture. For example, when you say 'stand up'.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks independently.
  • May be able to walk upstairs and be able to run as well.
  • Pulls objects while walking.
  • Can help undress himself/herself.
  • Is able to drink from a cup.
  • Eats with a spoon at mealtimes.

2 Years Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Copies others, particularly adults and other children.
  • Gets excited when around other children.
  • Displays more and more independence.
  • Behaviour at this age can be challenging as they test boundaries and tend to do things that they are told not to.
  • Plays mainly alongside others, however, starts to include other children in play such as; when playing chasing games.

Language and Communication

  • Points to the correct objects or pictures when they are named.
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts.
  • Speaks in sentences of 2-4 words.
  • Is able to follow simple instructions.
  • Repeats words that he/she overhears in conversation.
  • Points to objects or pictures in a book.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds objects even when they are hidden under 2 or 3 layers.
  • Begins to be able to sort shapes and colours.
  • Completes sentences and rhymes from books that they are familiar with.
  • Plays basic make-believe games.
  • Builds towers with 4 or more blocks.
  • Might use one hand more than the other.
  • Is able to follow a 2-step instruction such as; 'Pick up the paper and throw it in the bin'.
  • Names pictures or objects in a book.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Is able to stand on tiptoes.
  • Kicks a ball without losing balance.
  • Begins to run without losing balance.
  • Climbs onto and off of objects without any assistance.
  • Walks up and down stairs while holding on.
  • Throws a ball over their head. (Hands are over their head and they throw the ball in front of them, not from an underhand)
  • Draws or copies straight lines and circles.

3 Years Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Copies adults and friends.
  • Is affectionate towards friends without encouragement.
  • Takes turns when playing games with others.
  • Shows concern when a friend is upset.
  • Understands the concept of 'mine' and 'his' or 'hers'.
  • Displays a wide range of emotions.
  • Separates easily from caregiver or parents.
  • May get upset when there is a major change in their routine.
  • Is able to dress and undress self.

Language and Communication

  • Is able to follow instructions with up to 3-steps.
  • Can name most familiar things/objects.
  • Understands preposition words such as; 'in', 'on,' 'under,' etc.
  • Is able to say first name, age and gender.
  • Can name their friends or familiar people.
  • Says words such as; 'I,' 'me,' 'we' and 'you' and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats, etc.)
  • Speaks well enough to be understood by others.
  • Can hold a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Is able to work toys that have buttons, levers and moving parts.
  • Plays make-believe with toys and people (Imaginative Play).
  • Is able to do a 3 or 4 piece puzzle.
  • Understands the meaning of the number '2'.
  • Copies a circle with writing material.
  • Turns pages of books one by one.
  • Builds towers with more than 6 blocks.
  • Screws and unscrews lids of jars, turn door handles or is able to open and close a tap.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Climbs well.
  • Runs with ease.
  • Is able to peddle a tricycle.
  • Walks up and downstairs with alternating feet.

4 Years Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Enjoys exploring and doing new things.
  • Plays games such as 'mom and dad'.
  • Becomes more creative during imaginative play.
  • Would rather play with others than by themself.
  • Cooperates with other children.
  • Is often not able to tell the difference between real-life and make-believe.
  • Talks about interests and likes.

Language and Communication

  • Has knowledge of using some basic grammar rules such as; 'he' or 'she'.
  • Sings a song or is able to say a poem from memory.
  • Tells stories.
  • Can say their first and last name.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Is able to name some colours and numbers.
  • Understands the concept of counting.
  • Begins to understand the concept of time.
  • Remembers parts of a story.
  • Understands the concept of 'same' and 'different'.
  • Draws a body image with 2 to 4 body parts.
  • Uses scissors 
  • Starts to copy some capital letters from the Alphabet.
  • Plays basic card or board games.
  • Tells you what he/she thinks is going to happen next when reading a story.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Is able to hop and stand on 1 foot for 2 seconds.
  • Majority of the time they are able to catch a bounced ball.
  • Pours and cuts with supervision and sometimes mashes own food.

5 Years Old

Social and Emotional Development

  • Wants to be like friends and copies them.
  • Does things to please friends.
  • More likely to challenge rules and boundaries.
  • Enjoys singing, dancing and acting.
  • Is aware of gender.
  • Can tell the difference between make-believe and real-life.
  • Displays a great amount of independence.
  • Can at times be very demanding or otherwise very cooperative.

Language and Communication

  • Speech is very clear.
  • Tells a story with full sentences.
  • Is able to use future tense.
  • Says full name and address.

Cognitive Development (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Is able to count 10 or more objects.
  • Can draw a body image with at least 6 body parts.
  • Can write some letters or numbers.
  • Copies some geometric shapes such as a 'triangle'.
  • Knows about the use of everyday objects such as 'money and food'.

Movement/Physical Development

  • Is able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds or even longer.
  • Hops and may be able to skip.
  • Can do a somersault.
  • Uses a fork and a spoon at mealtimes and may at times use a table knife.
  • Can use the toilet independently.
  • Swings and is able to climb.

Until next time,