The developmental stages below are just a snapshot of what your child should be doing at each age. Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s development.

Social and Emotional

  • Your child knows familiar faces and begins to develop stranger awareness
  • Looking in the mirror at himself or herself is one of your child’s favorite activities.
  • Your child is able to respond to other people’s emotions by mirroring their feelings.
  • Happy: this is the disposition of most children at this age.

Language & Communication

  • Your child will responds when their name is called by looking at the person saying their name.
  • At this age, children frequently express joy or displeasure by making sounds.
  • Interaction with others, especially parents, takes the form of back and forth sound making.

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • It takes a considerable amount of coordination to pass things from one hand to the other, however, your child should master that skill at this age.
  • The world around your child is beginning to open up to them as well. They should be looking around at things and people in their environment.
  • Along with passing things from one had to another, they also begin to put things in their mouth.

Physical

  •  As your child becomes stronger, they will master the roll! They should be able roll over in both directions by this age.
  • Sitting without support is also mastered at this age. This is due to stronger core muscles and foundational to later motor activities such as walking.
  • As your child begins to pull himself or herself up to a standing position, they may bounce on both legs while holding on.

Social and Emotional

  • Back and forth noises have evolved into games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.
  • Looking around and taking in the environment now includes recognizing when mom or dad leave and may result in crying.
  • You child may intentionally repeat sounds or noises to get attention or a specific reaction (i.e. a big belly laugh).

Language & Communication

  • Communication is evolving more and simple gestures like shaking head “no” and waving “bye-bye” are now being used functionally.
  • At this age, your child will have a few words. For example, “mama”, “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Receptive language is improving as well. Your child should be able to understand and respond to simple requests. For example, “Come here.” or “Touch your nose”

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Your child will begin to explore the environment and interact with objects in different ways. For example, banging, shaking, hitting may be ways they interact with a new toy.
  • Your child is connecting names for things to pictures of things and to the things themselves. Because of this, your child will now look at pictures or things when they are named.
  • Children continue to build on their receptive language skills as they get older. In addition to language development, following requests requires increasing cognitive skills. For example, at this age, you can expect them to follow directions such as “pick up the toy” or “put your shoe in the bin”.

Physical

  • As children at this age practice their newfound physical prowess, they are continuing to strengthen their muscles. Your child should be able to get into a sitting position without help.
  • All milestones are dependent on practice, but it is most obvious with the physical milestones. If your child isn’t practicing rolling, they won’t be strong enough to pull themselves up. If they aren’t practicing pulling themselves up, then they won’t have opportunities to practice taking steps while holding on to furniture. And so on. And therefore, they may not be strong enough to progress to the next milestone.
  • Around 12 months, your child may begin to venture out and take steps without holding on to furniture.

Social and Emotional

  • As your child grows, so does his desire to share experiences with those around him. At this age, your child will point to things to show others.
  • Your child will also differentiate those people in his family or the people he is familiar with from strangers. He will show affection to his familiar peeps. This is typically in whatever way his family shows affection. For example, it can be snuggles, hugs, kisses, nuzzling his head in your neck, etc.
  • There are so many skills for your child to learn as he grows. This whole new world is exciting and he is mastering many things quickly, however, it isn’t all under his control and he is realizing this. Children at this age don’t yet have the communication skills to deal with emotional turmoil, so tantrums become their go to solution – at least until communication skills and emotional regulation skills catch up.

Language & Communication

  • At eighteen months, your child should be able to say a handful of words. Mostly, these words are requests for things he or she wants or needs.
  • As you child becomes more comfortable in his environment and explores, he will develop likes and dislikes. “No!” may become a favorite word.
  • By this age, your child has recognized his environment, including the preferred (i.e. family members) people in it. He has learned that items/objects have names and is able to receptively identify many by following directions. He has several words he successfully uses to get his needs met. In addition to all this, he is increasing his communicative language by pointing to show other what he wants when he doesn’t know the word.

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Pretend play explodes at this age. Your child may hold a doll and rock it to sleep or pick up a stuffed animal and pretend to feed it.
  • Now that many gross motor skills such as rolling over, standing, and walking have been mastered, fine motor skills are next on the list. For example, doodling/scribbling with a crayon or completing puzzles with larger pieces or fitting shapes into correctly sized holes.
  • Receptive language continue to improve. One step verbal commands are followed and can include things such as “put the puzzle piece here”, “spin in a circle”, “sit down”, “bring me the toy”, etc.

Physical

  • Your child should be able to walk without support.
  • More fine motor skills such as drinking from a cup or eating with a fork or spoon emerge at this age as well.
  • Your child’s coordination will continue to improve the more practice they have with navigating their environment. The more confident they are getting around, they more they begin to focus in on their fine motor skills. Squatting down to pick up a microscopic piece of fuzz off the floor, for example, requires both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.

Social and Emotional

  • Children continue to increase in their awareness of their environment as they develop. Around two years old, your child will begin copying other adults or older children. This may be their mannerisms (or gestures), certain phrases or words they use, or even a specific way they say something, for example, their tone of voice.
  • Interactive collaborative play is still a bit out of reach skill-wise for two year olds. Children at this age will play happily beside or in parallel with other children. There may be more interactive play in simple gross motor games such as chase.
  • Even though most children at this age don’t intentionally interact or engage in back and forth elaborate pretend play with other children, they do show excitement around other children.

Language & Communication

  • By this age, your child’s vocabulary has expanded quite a bit. Not only do they now have multiple words to draw from, they are also able to string those words together to make 2-4 word sentences.
  • By this age, your child’s receptive language and knowledge of the names of items has increased a great deal. They should be able to point to most if not all body parts when named.
  • Children increasingly pick up on things in their environment. By this age, your child is picking up on words you say in conversations and repeating them, sometimes correctly using them and sometimes not.

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Completes phrases and rhymes in familiar songs and books
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Follows 2-step directions

Physical

  • Kicks a ball
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on

It is essential to be aware & observant of the developmental stages so that you will know what your child should be doing at each age.

Read about your child's behavioral & speech patterns throughout various age milestones on our Milestones page.

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