If your child ever fails to meet these guidelines, please let us know!

By age 2 months, most babies…

  • Smile when happy, cry when upset.
  • Look at and follow another person’s face with their eyes.
  • Startle and turn towards voices or other familiar sounds.
  • Make “cooing” noises (vowel sounds), and do so in a “reciprocal” way – meaning if you coo at them they will coo back at you.

By age 4 months, most babies…

  • Opens hands, then…
  • Reaches for & grasps objects (bringing them to mouth).
  • Starting to roll over (one direction)
  • Lift head easily and have good head control
  • Respond appropriately to facial expressions.
  • Recognizes parents (responds differently to strangers vs. familiar people).

By age 6 months, most babies…

  • Passes objects hand-to-hand.
  • Are at least trying to sit up.
  • Bears some weight on legs when held (under arms) in standing position.
  • Blow “Raspberries” or “Bronx Cheers”.

By age 9 months, most babies…

  • Sit without support and can get from lying down to sitting up on their own without help.
  • Make consonant sounds and babbling noises like “ga-ga” or “ma-ma” (no meaning yet).
  • Stops or pauses to the word “No”.
  • Grasp objects between thumb and index finger (pincer grasp).
  • Hold their own cup or bottle.
  • Look for toys or other objects when they go out of sight
  • Enjoys “peek-a-boo” or “pat-a-cake” games.
  • With “partner” looks back & forth – from object to person to object or person-object-person (shared or “joint” attention).

By age 12 months, most babies…

  • Have a few meaningful words (usually mama, dada, and at least one other)
  • Pull to stand.
  • Are “cruising” (moving around furniture standing up, holding on).
  • Wave “bye-bye”.
  • Point to objects to get another person’s attention.
  • Will follow simple one step commands with a gesture.
  • Swallow soft solid foods without gagging.

By age 15 months, most toddlers…

  • Have 5 – 10 meaningful words (which may not be pronounced right).
  • Use gestures and facial expressions to engage others in play.
  • Initiates “peek-a-boo” or “pat-a-cake” games.
  • Follow simple one-step directions without need for a getsure.
  • Drink from a cup and are starting to use a spoon.
  • Walk independantly.

By age 18 months, most toddlers…

  • Walk with confidence, climb things, starting to run.
  • Say 10 – 20 words and at least one two-word phrase.
  • Know a few body parts.
  • Takes off shoes.
  • Uses a spoon to successfully bring food to mouth.
  • Points to objects to indicate intention/desires.

By their 2nd birthday, most children…

  • Say more than 50 words and speak in 3-5 word sentences, although often not grammatically correct or fully understandable by strangers
  • Follow a 2-step verbal command
  • Point to pictures in a book and can point to at least one body part
  • Can scribble and use utensils
  • Can run and climb
  • Develop fantasy play and often imitate adults
  • Show increasing enthusiam about being with other children


By their 3nd birthday, most children…

  • Speak in longer sentences, use pronouns and are mostly understandable to strangers
  • Can tell stories and answer simple questions
  • Are developing an understanding of time (“before” and “after”) and place (“under”, “behind”)
  • Can build a tower of 4 blocks and may start to use one hand more than the other
  • Know most body parts, some colors, and can sing songs.
  • Can jump, throw a ball and climb stairs independently

By their 4th and 5th birthday, most children…

  • Speak in long sentences and can hold a conversation
  • Can climb a ladder, pedal a bike and use the swings
  • Can dress/undress themselves and can usually care for their own toilet needs
  • Understands the concepts of time, know most colors and are starting to count
  • Draw circles and squares, use scissors and can draw a person with 2-4 body parts
  • Are more independent, interested in new experiences and cooperate with other children


  • Talk slightly louder than normal, in a high pitched voice, with exaggerated intonation.
  • Use short simple sentences.
  • Narrate concrete day to day events.
  • Praise or reward any utterance by the child.
  • Provide the child with listening experiences (e.g., reading aloud, telling stories).
  • Ask lots of questions and label everything.
  • Discourage others from speaking for the child.
  • Accompany words with gestures and eye contact.
  • Don’t criticize language errors.
  • Find a pal at a slightly higher level.
  • Don’t punish the child for not talking.
  • Spend more time together; Forget about it; HAVE FUN!!!