Children Progress at Their Own Pace

Children develop many of their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills during their early years. There are some milestones associated with typical growing cycles for children birth to five years old. Keep in mind that children progress at their own pace and these milestones are meant to be a general guide. If you have concerns about your child’s abilities, working with your pediatrician or family support worker can help you connect to helpful resources.

Birth to 1 Year

Cries to express needs – parent bonding begins

Begins social smiling

Recognizes parent’s voice

Memory is established

Turns head to voice, smiles in response to smiles, kicks and waves

Begins babbling – strings sounds together (ah, eh, oh)

Genuinely laughs, loves attention

Gestures to communicate – pushing things away, squirming

Likes to play

Recognizes his or her name

Discovers the fingers and toes

Screams to get their own way

Crawls, sits up without support

Uses spoon to feed themselves

Solves simple problems – i.e. knocking over box to a get a toy

Can stand on their own

By 1 Year

Has grown by 10 to 12 inches and the brain has doubled in size

Fears the unfamiliar – people, places, things

Beginning a sense of separate self

Begins trial and error experimentation

Takes first steps

Can move hands in rotation to turn knobs

Plays drop and retrieve games; pat-a-cake

Explores with hands and fingers

Smiles and vocalizes at image in mirror

Says simple words like mama or dada

Responds to simple spoken requests

Has intent behind actions

By 2 Years

Completely self centered, wants to be noticed, likes an audience

VERY assertive, insists on own way

Relates better to adults than children

Talks mostly to self

Mimics adult behavior, repeats words they say

Understands verbal requests

Answers “what’s that?”; understands simple phrases; uses 5 – 50 words

Short attention span; gives up easily but moves on quickly to new things

Loves opposites – up/down, yes/no

imitates simple tasks

Bladder/bowel control begins

Feeds self; grasps cup with two hands

Cuts last teeth

Likes conclusions – shuts doors, closes books

Likes to push-pull objects; carry and dump is a favorite activity

Walks with growing confidence, can find it hard to turn corners

By 3 Years

Highly imitative of adults

Wants to please adults

Easily prompted or redirected

Uses toilet alone; achieves bladder control

Loses baby fat

Begins to share, take turns and wait

Says “me-too” frequently

Sympathizes with others

Often hindered, frustrated or jealous

Talkative with or without listener

Can listen to learn

Intrigued by whispering

Swings arms when walking

Jumps up and down easily

Can balance on one foot

Alert, excited and curious; asks “why?” constantly

Enjoys guessing games and riddles

Has a lively imagination

Often over generalizes and has a short attention span

Shows affection to friends and adults

Moves and talks at same time

Substitutes letters in speech – “w” for “r”; uses 300 to 1000 words

Rides a tricycle

Puts on and takes off clothes with help; unbuttons buttons

Often colors pages one color

Can’t combine two activities

Names and matches simple colors

Has number concepts of one and two

By 4 Years

Growing body control, can hop, stand on one foot

Rapid mood changes

Easily over-stimulated and excitable

Shows off, is cocky and noisy

Often resistant, testing limits

Meal time can be a challenge – eating only specific food items or nothing at all and this  can change daily

Hits, grabs, can be destructive

Bossy, boastful, belligerent, assertive, or argumentative

Impatient in large groups

Great talker, questioner; likes words

Able to talk to resolve conflicts

Responds to verbal directions; asks “when?”, “why?”, “how?”

Hops, jumps, and skips

Throws large ball, kicks accurately

Jumps over objects; turns somersaults

Laces shoes; dresses self

Has sureness and control in finger activities

Can work toward a goal

Has extended attention span; can do two things at once

Has accurate sense of time

Begins to generalize, often faulty

Calls people names

Has imaginary playmates

Recognizes several printed words

Copies a cross, square; can draw a stick figure

Holds paint brush in adult manner, pencil in fisted grip

By 5 Years

Uses big words and complete sentences

Can define simple words

Spells out simple words

Enjoys group play and competitive games

Aware of rules, defines them for others

Gets involved with group decisions

Insists on fair play

Insists “I already know that!”

Asks questions to learn answers

Thinks out loud

May get silly or wild

Enjoys pointless riddles and jokes

Chooses own friends

Draws a recognizable person

Cuts on line with scissors

Begins to color within the lines

Completely coordinated, runs lightly on toes

Has tremendous physical drive

Sometimes roughhouses or fights

Attention span is noticeably increased

Makes a plan, follows it, centers on task

Curious about everything, wants to know how or why constantly

Understands tomorrow and yesterday

Knows what a calendar is used for

Knows name, address, town

Makes up songs; enjoys dictating stories

Answers the telephone

Uses 1500 words

Likes adult companionship

Accepts, respects authority; asks permission

What if I am worried about my child?
or What if my child needs more help?

When you’re concerned that your child is showing signs of delayed progress, it can feel overwhelming, even frightening. But you know your child and you’re doing the right thing by finding out if anything’s wrong. An assessment looks at the facts and combines parental and medical know-how to determine your child’s situation. The earlier a delay is identified, the sooner your child can get the support they need to begin overcoming those challenges.

We’re committed to your children and your family.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, request services and let us know how we can help.