Developmental milestones

A developmental milestone is a skill acquired by a child within a specific age range, such as smiling for the first time or learning to walk or speak. Each milestone builds on the last milestone developed – for instance, a child must first learn to crawl and pull up to a standing position before he or she can walk.

child spoon feeding herself
Please remember that these are guidelines only, and that children develop at their own pace. Each child is a unique individual and may meet his or her developmental milestones a little earlier or later than other children of the same age.

Six months
Sits with support
Able to hold own bottle
Imitates sounds
Laughs in play
Recognises familiar faces
Is shy of strangers

Nine months
Able to crawl
Sits unsupported
Finger feeds his or herself
Imitates speech sounds
Vocalises to attract attention

One year
Stands holding on to furniture
Holds a spoon
Takes a few steps
Babbles two or three words repeatedly
Responds to simple instructions
Understands several words

little girl learning to walk

18 months
Toddles well
Crawls upstairs
Pulls off shoes and socks
Throws a ball
Pulls toys along
Sits on a chair
‘Reads’ board books
Points to two or three body parts
Says two-word phrases
Uses a spoon

Two years
Goes up and down stairs
Walks backwards
Learns to jump
Joins two or three words in a sentence
Obeys simple commands
Half of speech is understandable
Puts on shoes, socks, pants
Plays near other children but not with them

Three years
Improved balance
Copies a circle
Pedals a tricycle
Frequently asks questions
Knows his or her own name and age
Unbuttons clothes
Dresses without help
Plays with others

Four years
Skips and hops
Throws ball over arm
Names three colours
Fluent conversation
Counts up to 20
Attends to own toilet needs
Buttons clothes fully

Five years
Skips, jumps and hops with good balance
Fluent speech
Names four colours
Tells time
Dresses and undresses alone
Writes name

Six years
Kicks, throws and climbs
Ties shoelaces
Skips with a rope
Talks fluently and with confidence
Develops reading skills
May write independently

Dinah Bromwich

Why not have a look at some of the children's profiles on our website?

Originally published in the Be My Parent newspaper in September 2009.

This article is published with the kind permission of the people involved. You may download it for your own reference but if you wish to use it for any other purpose, please contact Be My Parent for authorisation: Be My Parent, BAAF, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Telephone: 020 7421 2666.

Last updated: 25 August 09

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