Summary of Child Development Milestones for Worried Parents


summary of child development milestones

Every child is different, and so is every parent’s experience; but experts have a clear idea about the range of normal development from birth to age 5 — and signs that a child might have a developmental delay. Below you’ll find milestones organized by period of development, and tips on when to contact a health professional about your concerns. Remember — there is no penalty for being cautious about your growing child, and if there is a problem acting early can make all the difference.

Milestones at 1 Month

A person holding a camera
  • Movement Milestones
  • Makes jerky, quivering arm thrusts
  • Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth
  • Moves head from side to side while lying on stomach
  • Head flops backward if unsupported
  • Keeps hands in tight fists
  • Strong reflex movements
  • Focuses 8 to 12 inches (20.3 to 30.4 cm) away
  • Eyes wander and occasionally cross
  • Prefers black-and-white or high-contrast patterns
  • Prefers the human face to all other patterns
  • Hearing is fully mature
  • Recognizes some sounds
  • May turn toward familiar sounds and voices
  • Smell and Touch Milestones
  • Prefers sweet smells
  • Avoids bitter or acidic smells
  • Recognizes the scent of his own mother’s breastmilk
  • Prefers soft to coarse sensations
  • Dislikes rough or abrupt handling

Milestones at 3 Months

A man standing in front of a rock
  • Movement Milestones
  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound
  • Social and Emotional Milestones
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Milestones at 7 Months

  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support of her hands
  • Supports her whole weight on her legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)
  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects improves
  • Language Milestones
  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of consonants
  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach
  • Social and Emotional Milestones
  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often

Milestones at 1 Year

  • Gets to sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support
  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling
  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words
  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)
  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys

If your child has crossed these development milestones then it is growing properly.

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