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Normal Development

Watching your child grow and develop new skills is an exciting part of being a parent. It is impossible to predict when your child will begin smiling or sitting because each child develops differently. The following timeline offers a general guideline. If you have questions about your child's development, please contact your pediatrician.


Gross Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills

Speech Development

3 months


  • lifts head to 90
  • bears weight through forearms
  • begins rolling tummy to back


  • kicks legs off surface
  • brings hands to midline
  • may reach for a toy


  • still needs full support, head will bob occasionally
  • Brings hands to midline
  • Visually tracks people or objects
  • Actively holds a toy
  • Hands predominantly open
  • Sucks & swallows well during feedings
  • Quiets or smiles in response to a sound or a voice
  • Coos or vocalizes other than crying
  • Turns head toward direction of a sound

6 Months


  • Bears weight through extended arms
  • Turns/pivots in both directions
  • Shifts weight onto one arm to reach for a toy with the other arm


  • Rolls back to tummy
  • Plays with both feet with hands


  • Sits independently when placed
  • May use UEs for support in sitting


  • Stands with support, takes full weight over her legs
  • Transfers toy from one hand to the other
  • Brings toys to mouth
  • Reaches for objects with one arm
  • Beginning to use consonant sounds in babbling (dada)
  • Uses babbling to get attention
  • Begins to eat cereal and pureed foods

9 Months


  • Gets up on hands and knees
  • Begins to crawl forward on hands and knees


  • Moves from sitting to belly
  • Gets into sitting position independently
  • Reaches to the side for a toy without losing balance


  • Pulls to stand at a supportive surface
  • Begins cruising using furniture for support.
  • Plays pat-a-cake
  • Shakes, bangs and throws toys
  • Pokes with one finger
  • Attempts to pick up small objects with 2 fingers
  • Turns several pages of a board book at once
  • Explores and examines an object using both hands
  • Understands a few words (no-no, bye-bye)
  • Responds to name
  • Increases variety of sounds and syllable combinations in babbling
  • Looks at familiar objects and people when named
  • Begins to eat mashed foods
  • Babbles in imitation of real speech, with expression

12 Months

  • Crawls forward on hands and knees
  • Stands without support briefly
  • Starts to take a few steps independently
  • Finger feeds self
  • Points with index finger
  • Puts three or more objects into a container

  • Meaningfully uses mama and dada or says 1-2 words
  • Recognizes name
  • Imitates familiar sounds
  • Responds to simple commands
  • Produces long strings of gibberish in social communication
  • Begins to use an open cup

15 Months

  • Walks independently with fewer falls and increased speed
  • Squats without support to pick up a toy
  • Will walk up and down stairs with hands held, places both feet on each step
  • Stacks two objects or blocks
  • Helps with getting undressed
  • Holds and drinks from an open cup
  • Vocabulary consists of 5-10 words
  • Imitates new less familiar words
  • Understands 50 words
  • Increased variety of coarsely chopped table foods

18 Months

  • Walking independently
  • Starting to walk up and down steps holding onto a railing

  • Uses both hands in midline – one to hold, other manipulates.
  • Builds tower using three blocks
  • Knows several body parts
  • Uses 5-20 words, including names
  • Identifies some pictures in a book

2 Years

  • Runs
  • Jumps in place
  • Walks up and down stairs using two feet on each step
  • Throws ball overhead

  • Uses a spoon and a fork
  • Opens a door
  • Draws a vertical line
  • Brushes teeth with help
  • Dresses with help

  • Has 50 words or more
  • Speaks several two-word phrases
  • Follows single-step and two-step commands
  • Listens to short stories
  • Uses pronouns
  • Waves goodbye
  • Makes familiar animal sounds
  • Understands “no”
  • Uses words like “more” to make wants known

3 Years

  • Kick a ball
  • Walk up stairs using alternating feet
  • Beginning to ride a tricycle

  • Scribbles
  • Copies a circle
  • Matches several puzzle pieces
  • Puts on a coat independently
  • Independently uses a fork, spoon and cup

  • Speaking in 3-4 word sentences
  • 75% of speech should be understood by others
  • Identifies body parts
  • Calls self “me” instead of name
  • Combines nouns and verbs
  • Has a 450 word vocabulary

4 Years

  • Rides a tricycle or bicycle with training wheels
  • Hops on one foot

  • Draws a person with three parts
  • Builds a tower of blocks
  • Cuts and pastes
  • Copies a cross and a circle
  • Sings a song
  • Talks about daily activities and experiences
  • Distinguishes fantasy from reality
  • Gives name and phone number

5 Years

  • Runs, walks and climbs without difficulty

  • Copies a square or triangle
  • Prints some letters
  • Draws a stick figure with head, body, arms and legs