Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones

Should my child be walking yet? Talking? Playing with blocks? How do I know if she’s developing correctly?

Emerging Patterns of Behavior from Birth to 5 years of age

You can print out some suggested milestones from OLOL Children’s Hospital for kids in their first five years, or read them here:


  • Lifts head and chest, arms extended, head above plane of body on ventral suspension
  • Tonic neck posture predominates; reaches toward and misses object; waves at toy
  • Head lag partially compensated on pull to sitting position; early head control with bobbing motion, back rounded
  • Typical Moro response has not persisted; makes defense movements or selective withdrawal reactions
  • Sustained social contact; listens to music; says “aah, ngah

16 weeks

  • Lifts head and chest, head in approximately vertical axis, legs extended
  • Symmetrical posture predominates, hands in midline; reaches and grasps objects and brings them to mouth
  • No head lag on pull to sitting position, head steady, held forward; enjoys sitting with full truncal support
  • When held erect, pushes with feet
  • Sees pellet but makes no move to it
  • Laughs out loud; may show displeasure if social contact is broken;  excited at sight of food

28 weeks

  • Rolls over; may pivot
  • Lifts head; rolls over; squirming movements
  • Sits briefly, with support of pelvis; leans forward on hands, back rounded
  • May support most of weight; bounces actively
  • Reaches out for and grasps large object; transfers objects from hand to hand; grasp uses radial palm; rakes at pellet
  • Polysyllabic vowel sounds formed
  • Prefers mother; babbles; enjoys mirror; responds to changes in emotional content of social contact

40 weeks

  • Sits up alone and indefinitely without support, back straight
  • Pulls to standing position
  • Creeps or crawls
  • Grasps objects with thumb and forefinger; pokes at things with forefinger; picks up pellet with assisted pincer movement; uncovers hidden toy; attempts to retrieve dropped object; releases object grasped by other person
  • Repetitive consonant sounds (mama, dada)
  • Responds to sound of name; plays peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake; waves bye-bye

1 year

  • Walks with one hand held; “cruises” or walks holding onto furniture
  • Picks up pellet with unassisted pincer movement of forefinger and thumb; releases object to other person on request or gesture
  • A few words besides mama, dada
  • Plays simple ball game; makes postural adjustment to dressing

15 months

  • Walks alone; crawls up stairs
  • Makes tower of 2 cubes; makes a line with crayon; inserts pellet in bottle
  • Jargon: follows simple commands; may name a familiar object (ball)
  • Indicates some desires or needs by pointing; hugs parents

18 months

  • Runs stiffly; sits on small chair; walks up stairs with one hand held; explores drawers and waste baskets
  • Piles 3 cubes; imitates scribbling; imitates vertical stroke; dumps pellet from bottle
  • 10 words (average); names pictures; identifies one or more parts of body
  • Feeds self; seeks help when in trouble; may complain when wet or soiled; kisses parent with pucker

24 months

  • Runs well; walks up and down stairs one step at a time; opens doors; climbs on furniture
  • Tower of 6 cubes; circular scribbling; imitates horizontal stroke; folds paper once imitatively
  • Puts 3 words together (subject, verb, object)
  • Handles spoon well; often tells immediate experiences; helps to undress; listens to stories with pictures

30 months

  • Jumps
  • Tower of 8 cubes; makes vertical and horizontal strokes, but generally will not join them to make a cross; imitates circular stroke forming closed figure
  • Refers to self by pronoun “I”; knows full name
  • Helps put things away; pretends in play

36 months

  • Goes up stairs alternating feet; rides tricycle; stands momentarily on one foot
  • Tower of 9 cubes; imitates construction of “bridge” of 3 cubes; copies a circle; imitates a cross
  • Knows age and sex; counts 3 objects correctly; repeats 3 numbers or a sentence of 6 syllables
  • Plays simples games (in “parallel” with other children)
  • Helps in dressing (unbuttons clothing, puts on shoes)
  • Washes hands

48 months

  • Hops on one foot; throws ball overhand; uses scissors to cut out pictures; climbs well
  • Copies bridge from model; imitates construction of “gate” of 5 cubes; copies cross and square; draws a man with 2 to 4 parts besides head; names longer of 2 lines
  • Counts 4 pennies accurately; tells a story
  • Plays with several children with beginning of social interaction and role-playing; goes to toilet alone

5 years

  • Skips
  • Draws triangle from copy; names heavier of 2 weights
  • Names 4 colors; repeats sentence of 10 syllables; counts 10 pennies correctly
  • Dresses and undresses; asks questions about meaning of words; domestic role-playing

Milestones are provided by Dr. Steven Felix, Pediatric Development and Therapy Center, 8415 Goodwood Boulevard, Suite 200, Baton Rouge, LA.

Remember, every child is different, and all children develop at their own pace and in their own way.

If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, talk to your pediatrician or call Dr. Felix at (225) 765-6346.