Infants and Toddlers: Appropriate Developmental Milestones

Compiled by Wendy S. Scoppa

Areas of development:

  1. Physical – body
  2. Cognitive – thinking, intellect, language, communication
  3. Social – gets along with others and the world around them
  4. Emotional – feelings (yours and others)

Infants: 0 to 12 months
Toddlers: 1 to 3 years

Infant Development
1.) Physical – Motor Development Milestones

Gross Motor Development (the use of the large muscles, such as legs and arms):

  • 3 – 4 months: holds up head
  • 4 months: rolls from back to side or side to back
  • 6 months: rolls over
  • 7 months: pulls up to standing position, uses arms to drag body along floor
  • 8 months: sits without support
  • 8 – 10 months: crawls
  • 9 – 12 months: walks while holding on to someone, cruises
  • 12 – 15 months: walks

Fine Motor Development (the use of the small muscles, such as fingers, toes, and face):

  • Birth – 3 months: swats at things, then holds onto things
  • 6 months: grasps and is able to let go of things when no longer wanted, pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger pick things up)
  • 9 – 12 months: moves things from one hand to the other, uses forefinger to poke, probe, and hook

2.) Cognitive – Language Development Milestones

  • Birth – 3 months: listens to voices and sounds, coos, gurgles, cries, smiles, and moves arms and legs to tell feelings
  • 4 – 6 months: begins to respond to own name, laughs, babbles, begins to watch speaker’s eyes and mouth, varies their voice by babbling loudly, then softly
  • 7 – 12 months: pays attention to music and singing, responds to some commands accompanied by visual cues (like “bye-bye”), may speak a few words by 12 months

3.) Social and Emotional Development

  • Birth – 2 months: learning to trust based on basic needs being met, starts forming an attachment with primary caregiver
  • 3 – 5 months: responds with baby sounds when caregivers talk and smile, baby smiles directly at caregivers and begins to laugh
  • 6 – 12 months: becomes strongly attached to primary caregiver and wants that person for most things, if primary caregiver leaves or if a stranger is near the baby gets very upset

Toddler Development

1.) Physical – Motor Development Milestones

Gross Motor Development:

  • 12 – 18 months: walks, walks backwards
  • 18 – 24 months: tries to run, climbs stairs, jumps, can bend over to pick things up without falling
  • 2 – 3 years: runs, jumps with feet together, walks down stairs without help, rides a tricycle

Fine Motor Development:

  • 12 – 24 months: uses pincer grasp better, holds crayon in fist and scribbles, builds a 3 or 4 block tower, turns pages in a book, feeds self using hands, drinks from a cup, begins to show hand preference
  • 2 – 3 years: picks up tiny objects, holds crayon with an adult grasp, tries to dress and undress self

2.) Cognitive – Language Development Milestones

  • 12 – 18 months: asks for “more,” points to pictures in a book, uses 10-15 words by 18 months
  • 18 – 24 months: names common objects, points to body parts, sits alone for short periods with books, likes rhyming games, knows shapes, speaks 2-word sentences, uses “I” and “mine,” may understand 200-300 words and speak about 50 words by 24 months
  • 24 – 36 months: follows 2-3 step directions, uses 3-4 word sentences, gives full name when asked, identifies objects by use, understands and asks for “another,” understands “in” and “on,” understands about 1,000 words

3.) Social and Emotional Development
A toddler is becoming an independent person who wants to do everything him/herself, developing self-esteem and self-confidence, learning how to control behavior and beginning to understand how to behave, beginning to understand that his/her actions affect others and that people have feelings.

How to encourage developmental milestones:
1.) Talk to your baby
2.) Sing – traditional songs and make up your own (insert your child’s name into songs)
3.) Read to your child
4.) Benefits of play (see additional handouts)
5.) You are the role model for your child. Children imitate your behavior.

When to Worry:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Engrossed in activity and can not be pulled away – does not respond to name being called
  • Perseveration (i.e.: spinning wheels, numbers, letters)
  • Does not display shared enjoyment (i.e.: enthusiasm over Jack in the Box)
  • Language acquisition (10 words by 18 months)
  • Excessive flapping (kids DO flap when excited)
  • Looking at ceiling
  • Missing social cues
  • Not interested in play or other people

Resources for Information:

  • www.chdi.org
  • www.chs-ca.org
  • www.cdc.gov/actearly (developmental milestones)
  • Autism Society of CT: www.asconn.org
  • Birth to Three: www.birth23.org
  • Clinton Public Schools preschool screening at age 3, (860)664-6505 www.clintonpublic.org
  • Pediatrician (take a list of your concerns)

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