Birth - 3 Months

  • Alerts to sound
  • Quiets or smiles when you talk
  • Makes sounds back and forth with you
  • Makes sounds that differ depending on whether they are happy or upset
  • Coos, makes sounds like ooooo, aaah, and mmmmm
  • Recognizes loved ones and some common objects
  • Turns or looks toward voices or people talking

4 - 6 Months

  • Giggles and laughs
  • Responds to facial expressions
  • Looks at objects of interest and follows objects with their eyes
  • Reacts to toys that make sounds, like those with bells or music
  • Vocalizes during play or with objects in mouth
  • Vocalizes different vowel sounds - sometimes combined with a consonant - like uuuummm, aaagooo, or daaa
  • Blows "raspberries"

7 to 9 Months

  • Looks at you when you call their name
  • Stops for a moment when you say, "No"
  • Babbles long strings of sounds, like mamamama, upupup, babababa
  • Looks for loved ones when upset
  • Raises arms to be picked up
  • Recognizes the names of some people and objects
  • Pushes away unwanted objects

10 to 12 Months

  • By age 10 months, reaches for objects
  • Points, waves, and shows or gives objects
  • Imitates and initiates gestures for engaging in social interactions and playing games, like blowing kisses or playing peek-a-boo
  • Tries to copy sounds that you make
  • Enjoys dancing
  • Responds to simple words and phrases like "Go bye-bye" and "Look at Mommy"
  • Says one or two words - like mama, dada, hi, and bye

13 to 18 Months

  • Looks around when asked "where" questions - like "Where's your blanket?"
  • Follows directions - like "Give me the ball," "Hug the teddy bear," "Come here," or "Show me your nose"
  • Points to make requests, to comment, or to get information
  • Shakes head for 'no' and nods head for 'yes'
  • Understands and uses words for common objects, some actions, and people in their lives
  • Identifies one or more body parts
  • Uses gestures when excited, like clapping or giving a high-five, or when being silly, like sticking out their tongue or making funny faces
  • Uses a combination of long strings of sounds, syllables, and real words with speech-like inflection

19 - 24 Months

  • Uses and understands at least 50 different words for food, toys, animals, and body parts. Speech may not always be clear - like du for "shoe" or dah for "dog"
  • Puts two or more words together - like 'more water' or 'go outside'
  • Follows two-step directions - like "Get the spoon and put it on the table."
  • Uses words like me, mine, and you
  • Uses words to ask for help
  • Uses possessives, like 'Daddy's sock'

2 - 3 Years

  • Uses word combinations often but may occasionally repeat some words or phrases, like - 'baby baby,' baby sit down,' 'I want,' or 'I want juice'
  • Tries to get your attention by saying, 'Look at me!'
  • Says their name when asked
  • Uses some plural words like 'birds' or 'toys'
  • Uses -ing verbs like 'eating' or 'running'. Adds -ed to the end of words to talk about past actions, like 'looked' or 'played'
  • Gives reasons for things and events, like saying that they need a coat when it's cold outside
  • Asks Why and How questions
  • Answers questions like "What do you do when you are sleepy?" or " Which one can you wear?"
  • Correctly produces the sounds p, b, m, h, w, d, and n in words
  • Correctly produces most vowels in words
  • Speech is becoming clearer but, may not be understandable to unfamiliar listeners or to people who do not know your child

3 to 4 Years

  • Compares things, with words like 'bigger' or 'shorter'
  • Tells you a story from a book or a video
  • Understands and uses more location words, like 'inside,' 'on,' and 'under'
  • Uses words like 'a' or 'the' when talking, like 'a book' or 'the dog'
  • Pretends to read alone or with others
  • Recognizes signs and logos like STOP
  • Pretends to write or spell and can write some letters
  • Correctly produces t, k, f, y, and -ing in words
  • Says all the syllables in a word
  • Says the sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words
  • By age 4 years, your child talks smoothly. Does not repeat sounds, words, or phrases most of the time
  • By age 4 years, your child speaks so that people can understand most of what they say. Child may make mistakes on sounds that are later to develop - like l, j, r, sh, ch, s, v, z, and th
  • By age 4 years, your child says all sounds in a consonant cluster containing two or more consonants in a row - like the 'tw' in 'tweet' or the '-nd' in 'sand.' May not produce all sounds correctly - for example, 'spway' for "spray"

4 to 5 Years

  • Produces grammatically correct sentences. Sentences are longer and more complex
  • Include (1) main character, setting, and words like 'and' to connect information and (2) ideas to tell stories
  • Uses at least one irregular plural form, like 'feet' or 'men'
  • Understands and uses location words, like 'behind,' 'beside,' and 'between'
  • Uses more words for time - like 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow' correctly
  • Follows simple directions and rules to play games
  • Locates the front of a book and its title
  • Recognizes and names 10 or more letters and can usually write their own name
  • Imitates reading and writing from left to right
  • Blends word parts, like 'cup' + 'cake' = 'cupcake.' Identifies some rhyming words, like 'cat' and 'hat'
  • Produces most consonants correctly, and speech is understandable in conversation

For additional developmental milestone information from the CDC, click the link below.