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Watching children grow and change is one of the many joys of life. Refer to this guide often throughout the first years of your child’s life. You’ll be surprised at how much they learn in such a short time! Remember, every child develops skills and abilities at their own unique pace. If at any time you have questions about your child’s growth and development, please take the opportunity to discuss them with your family’s healthcare provider.
Birth to 3 months

Birth to 3 months

Birth to 3 months
  • Smiles and coos.
  • Recognizes faces, touch, voices and smell.
  • Grips your finger or a toy placed in his or her hands.
  • Makes sounds, facial expressions and movements to communicate that he or she feels sleepy, hungry, happy or uncomfortable.
  • Relies on you to respond to signals and provide comfort.
3 to 6 months

3 to 6 months

3 to 6 months
  • Rolls over from front to back.
  • Sits with help and holds head steady.
  • Responds to you with a few different sounds.
  • Pushes up to see people and things around him or her.
  • Drools; may start teething.
  • Settles into a more regular sleeping and eating schedule.
  • Plays “peek-a-boo”; plays with fingers and toes.
  • Reaches for, grasps and explores objects with fingers, hands and mouth.
  • Uses smiles and laughter to recognize you and to appreciate playtime.
6 to 9 months

6 to 9 months

6 to 9 months
  • Rolls over from back to front.
  • Copies your actions—like waving bye-bye and shaking their head “no”.
  • Uses thumb and fingers to pick up objects.
  • Holds his or her own bottle; expresses taste preferences.
  • Babbles and makes sounds to communicate. Smiles at his or her reflection in a mirror.
  • Sits independently; may crawl, scoot or pull up on furniture to stand.
  • May love meeting new people—or may be shy at first. May like lots of sound and activity—or may prefer quiet and calm.
9 to 12 months

9 to 12 months

9 to 12 months
  • Makes sounds and movements to communicate wants.
  • Says a few words like “mama” and “dada”.
  • Understands many words; can follow simple directions like “go get the ball”.
  • Creeps and crawls; may begin to walk.
  • Cries when you leave.
  • Drinks from a cup with help.
  • Tries to build a tower with two blocks.
  • Figures out how things work through repetition (e.g. dropping his or her toy for you to pick up again and again).
12 to 15 months

12 to 15 months

12 to 15 months
  • Walks independently—or by holding a hand.
  • Crawls up stairs (but can’t come down yet).
  • Throws a ball.
  • Turns pages in a book.
  • Points to identify a body part or picture.
  • Says “no”—or tries to do things without your help.
  • Imitates, like talking on a phone or stirring in a pot.
15 to 18 months

15 to 18 months

15 to 18 months
  • Finger-feeds self, starts using a spoon and drinks from a cup without help.
  • Walks, runs and climbs, scribbles with a crayon and builds a tower with blocks.
  • Comforts others or tries to make them laugh with sounds and actions.
  • Understands simple questions; says as many as 20 words.
  • Has difficulty handling feelings; has tantrums and needs help to calm down.
18 to 24 months

18 to 24 months

18 to 24 months
  • Learns new words every day; may say 50 to 100 words by his or her second birthday and make two-word sentences.
  • Understands “no”—but may have trouble controlling feelings and actions.
  • Wants to do things independently.
  • Uses imagination (e.g. making noises while playing cars).
24 to 30 months

24 to 30 months

24 to 30 months
  • Walks up stairs one foot at a time, walks backward, balances on one foot.
  • Uses language—about 50 words, including “no,” “me” and “mine”—to express feelings.
  • Links words together; speaks clearly enough to be understood half the time.
  • Opens and closes things to see how they work; sorts similar objects together.
  • Gets scared; not always sure what’s real and what’s pretend.
  • Needs help sharing; has one or two friends.
  • Laughs at silly stories and actions of others.
30 to 36 months

30 to 36 months

30 to 36 months
  • Does “big kid stuff” like running, riding a tricycle, drawing or getting dressed.
  • Knows his or her first name and age.
  • Makes friends and plays cooperatively.
  • Uses as many as 900 words.
  • Understands spatial concepts like “over” and “under”.
  • Walks up and down stairs using alternating feet.
3 to 4 years

3 to 4 years

3 to 4 years
  • Uses pronouns (e.g. “I,” “you,” “we,” “they”) and some plurals.
  • Remembers what happened yesterday; acts out stories.
  • Takes turns.
  • Separates more easily from parents; openly expresses affection.
  • Builds a tower of 6 blocks.
  • Manipulates small objects; turns pages one at a time.
4 to 5 years

4 to 5 years

4 to 5 years
  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood by strangers.
  • Uses verbs that end in “ing”.
  • Tells simple stories.
  • Tries to solve problems; is interested in new experiences.
  • Cooperates with friends; becomes more independent.
  • Wants to fit in with others and understands gender.
  • Draws a person with two to four body parts and uses scissors.
  • Understands “same” and “different” and “behind” and “next to”.
  • Stands on one foot for at least five seconds.
  • Dresses and undresses independently.
  • Throws a ball overhand, kicks a ball and catches a bounced ball most of the time.
5 to 6 years

5 to 6 years

5 to 6 years
  • Uses compound and complex sentences.
  • Remembers full name, address and sometimes phone number.
  • Understands the concept of rhyming.
  • Follows three-step commands (e.g. “put on your hat, put on your coat and stand by the door”).
  • Uses imagination to create stories, but can distinguish between fantasy and reality.
  • Correctly names at least four colors and counts at least 10 objects.
  • Copies a square, triangle and other geometric shapes.
  • Understands the concepts of time and sequential order.
  • Stands on one foot for at least 10 seconds; hops, swings and somersaults.
  • Starts to skip, swim and ride a bike.
  • Brushes teeth and cares for other personal needs.
 

Courtesy of the Wyoming Department of Education, zerotothree.org and the Mayo Clinic