Developmental milestones: birth to 12 months

Developmental milestones: birth to 12 months

Here are some typical milestones for children. Every child is different, but these serve as an overview of the types of motor and language skills your child should demonstrate. The age ranges are approximate and mostly depend on the individual development of each child.

0–3 MONTHS

Fine motor

  • Holds hands open or loosely closed
  • Clenches hand as a toy is touched to it
  • Briefly holds dangling ring put in hand

Gross Motor

  • Can turn face side to side when on tummy
  • Begins to lift head regularly when playing on tummy, putting weight on forearms
  • Waves arms, kicks legs, squirms when diapers are changed

Receptive Language

  • Startles in response to loud noise
  • Smiles in response to familiar voice
  • Quiets to familiar voice
  • Looks directly at speaker's face

Expressive Language

  • Makes soft, throaty sound
  • Cries differently to express hunger, irritation, pain
  • Expresses pleasure by cooing, squealing, gurgling

3-6 MONTHS

Fine Motor

  • Curls fingers actively around toy touched to hand
  • Takes toy to mouth when on back
  • Plays with own hands at midline
  • Brings both hands towards toy when on back

Gross Motor

  • Rolls from tummy to back
  • Rolls from back to tummy
  • When playing on tummy, uses swimming-like movements
  • When playing on tummy, pushes up with arms to hold elbows

Receptive Language

  • Shows fear of angry voice
  • Smiles and laughs at pleasant speech
  • Turns head toward sound and human voice

Expressive Language

  • Babbles by repeating series of same sounds
  • Laughs during play
  • Changes sounds with body positions, using sounds: "p;" "b;" "m;" "n"

6-9 MONTHS

Fine Motor

  • Reaches and picks up block with one hand
  • Picks up block in each hand
  • Transfers toy from one hand to the other
  • Bangs toy on surfaces and together

Gross Motor

  • Sits independently, then learns to get out of sitting by pivoting and reaching to the side
  • Gets self up to hands and knees
  • Belly crawls, or creeps on hands and knees

Receptive Language

  • Looks for family members when asked, "Where's Mommy?" "Where's Daddy?"
  • Looks at some common objects when named
  • Responds somewhat to music
  • Pauses momentarily to respond to "no-no"

Expressive Language

  • Imitates familiar gestures (shaking a toy)
  • Uses two-syllable babbling: "mama;" "dada;" "gaga"
  • Vocalizes to call attention to himself/herself

9-12 MONTHS

Fine Motor

  • Bangs two toys together in air
  • Takes toys in and out of container
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Lets go of toy
  • Imitates back and forth scribble with a crayon
  • Helps turn pages of a book

Gross Motor

  • Creeps for mobility
  • Pulls to stand at furniture and lowers without falling
  • Cruises around furniture
  • Starts to climb

Receptive Language

  • Understands some simple requests: "give me;" "give me a kiss"
  • Understands simple, over-learned words: "hot;" "so big"
  • Responds to simple questions with searching movements: "Where's your shoes?"

Expressive Language

  • Plays exchange games with adults (handing objects back and forth)
  • Initiates games of "pat-a-cake" and "peek-a-boo"
  • Uses jargon (strings of a wide variety of consonant-vowel combinations with changes in tone and pitch of voice)

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