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Developmental Milestones

The brain grows very quickly during the first several years of life. During this time, your child is learning all sorts of new skills. The term “developmental milestones” refers to the timetable at which these skills appear in most children. 

Keep in mind all children grow and develop at their own pace. Below are just some of the milestones for children birth to age three. If you are concerned that your child has not met a milestone, talk with your child’s doctor or contact Bright Beginnings at 216.698.7500


  • recognizes faces, voices, and smells 

  • responds to smiles and touches with pleasure 

  • uses sounds, facial expressions, and body movements to communicate 

  • can grip a finger or toy 

  • communicates hunger by moving head towards mother’s breast or bottle 


  • can push up on my arms and roll 

  • can sit with help and holds head up 

  • may rock back and forth on hands and knees to get ready to crawl 

  • reaches for and grasps objects and toys 

  • puts things in mouth 

  • responds to familiar sounds with pleasure; moves arms and legs when excited 

  • makes different sounds in response to your sounds—babbles, coos, and gurgles 

  • eating and sleeping may be on a more regular schedule now 


  • looks for objects that disappear from sight 

  • copies what others do such as waving or shaking head for “no” 

  • picks up small objects using thumb and other fingers 

  • sits up without help 

  • may crawl or scoot to get around or even pull up on furniture to stand 

  • babbles on own and also in response to others 

  • uses voice to express feelings like happiness and anger 

  • likes, dislikes and personalities are starting to be more obvious now 


  • begins to understand what people are saying; may follow simple directions 

  • may say a word or two, like mama 

  • can creep and crawl on hands or knees, on stomach, “crab crawling” by moving backwards and sideways, or even scooting on their bottom 

  • may walk while holding on to furniture or holding someone’s hand; may walk on own 

  • knows when familiar people come and go and may respond with emotions 

  • likes to repeat sounds, movements and activities 


  • may walk on own or by holding a hand 

  • may crawl upstairs but cannot come down yet 

  • can throw a ball and turn pages in books 

  • talking and understanding more; may use some words like duhduh for dog 

  • uses actions like banging, pointing, vocalizing to communicate wants and needs 

  • can point to a body part or a picture in a book 

  • wants to do more for themselves 

  • starting to do more for themselves; may say no 

  • copies others actions like talking on the phone, reading, etc. 


  • walking and may be run or climb 

  • can scribble with crayons and build a block tower 

  • can feed themselves 

  • understands simple questions and directions like kick the ball to me 

  • communicates by combining sounds and actions - pointing to a cup and saying wawa for water 

  • says as many as 20 words by 18 months 

  • may repeat sounds and actions that make someone laugh 

  • may have tantrums and needs help calming down 

  • continues to repeat enjoyable actions 

  • uses many objects appropriately like pretending to drink from a play cup 

  • imitates others actions 


  • says as many as 50-100 words by age 2 

  • may put 2 words together like “more milk” 

  • understands the world around them better but still cannot control feelings and actions and needs help calming down 

  • can get frustrated when not able to do something 

  • begins pretend play such as feeding a doll or putting a doll to bed 

  • may make appropriate noises for animals or other objects 

  • opens and closes things; loves to dump things 

  • may sort like objects together, like all cars in one box 

  • may try to be more independent like put shoes on 


  • can walk up stairs one foot at a time 

  • can walk backwards 

  • can balance on one foot and is better at climbing 

  • can make longer sentences: Mama play truck? 

  • favorite words may be no, me, and mine 

  • may get overwhelmed by strong feelings and have trouble putting them into words and still needs help to calm down 

  • can use one object to stand in for another such as a box for a bed for a doll 

  • laughs at silly things and begins to understand simple humor like a dog saying “moo” 

  • may scare easily 

  • more social, making friends but still not good at sharing 

  • copies other children 


  • can pedal a tricycle or big wheel 

  • can dress self with help 

  • can draw a line 

  • can turn a knob or unscrew a cap 

  • use as many as 900 words by age 3 

  • understands sentences with two or more ideas like You can have a snack when we get home 

  • asks many questions 

  • knows first and last name 

  • can remember what happened yesterday 

  • can act out their own stories 

  • is becoming a “logical thinker” like when pretending that it is bedtime for Teddy, puts a blanket on him and sings him a lullaby 

  • likes playing with other children; may have one or two close friends 

  • notices differences in people like skin color or size 


Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio
6393 Oak Tree Boulevard South, Independence, OH 44131
P:(216) 524-3000  |  F:(216) 524-3683  |  [email protected]
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State Support Team 3
Essex Place
6393 Oak Tree Blvd, Independence, Ohio 44131
P:(216) 524-3000  |  F:(216) 446-3829    
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