Babies and young children grow and learn so quickly during their first few years! They are busy building skills and knowledge that will lay the foundation for higher cognitive functions into adulthood.
Children’s developmental milestones provide a general guide of the approximate age when certain abilities can be observed (since every child grows and develops at his or her own pace).
Your child may meet one milestone ahead of the time that is indicated, and another later on. Milestones are flexible; there is no strict timetable for acquiring abilities, and there is a wide range of what is considered normal development. For instance, babies who are premature may meet developmental milestones later than full-term babies until they reach about 24 months, at which point many have caught up with their peers.
When your child visits a public health nurse for schedules immunizations, a developmental check is conducted. This is an important way of monitoring children’s early development. For information on childhood immunizations, visit the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region Childhood Immunization web page.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, or if your child loses skills or abilities that he or she has previously demonstrated, make an appointment with your child’s doctor or a public health nurse to assess your child’s development. When developmental delays or disorders are identified early on, interventions are often more effective because children have had less time to get “off track”.
By 1 month old I…
- look at human faces and simple patterns
- am comforted by the sound of human voices
- become startled at loud noises
- can turn my head
- need support for my head
- listen closely to the sounds around me
- am soothed by calm, gentle voices
- have strong muscles in my cheeks and tongue
By 2 months old I…
- will grasp objects
- am learning how to move my arms and legs
- am beginning to look at objects more closely as my vision develops
- like to be held and to cuddle
- am developing stronger neck muscles and can move my head more
- show more interest in things I hear
- try to get your attention by smiling, crying, and moving my arms and legs around
- may develop different crying sounds to express different needs (ex. tired, hungry, uncomfortable)
By 3 months old I…
- can turn my head more quickly and easily
- can lift my head for over a minute
- am learning how to sit up, with your support
- am beginning to communicate by making new sounds, such as “ooh” and “aw”
- have discovered my own feet and hands!
- look around me to find out where sounds are coming from
- am learning to trust when you respond to my crying
- like to play and interact when I am calm and alert
- am making sounds such as gurgles and grunts
Adults can support babies’ development from birth to 3 months by…
- responding to your baby’s crying – you can hold, rock, touch, talk to, walk with, nurse, feed, or sing to your baby.
- feeding your baby on demand. Crying is often a late cue of baby’s hunger.
- learning and responding to your baby’s cues – when your baby’s physical and emotional needs are satisfied quickly, you are showing him or her that the world is safe and predictable.
- smiling at and talking to your baby while you change his or her diaper.
- interacting with your baby – make lots of eye contact, gently talk to and snuggle with your baby.
- giving your baby interesting things to look at (carry him around with you).
- taking your baby for walks and talking to your baby about the things that you see.
- encouraging other family members to be involved with the baby.
- breastfeeding, if possible. To learn about free breastfeeding support services available in Regina and area through Public Health Nurses, visit Breastfeeding (rqhealth.ca). Support is also available through La Leche League, which offers local meetings to support breastfeeding in our community.
By 4 months old I…
- can lift my head and chest up while I am on my tummy
- will smile on my own
- am starting to babble happily – I am learning how to use language!
- am beginning to respond with sounds when people speak right to me
- am beginning to copy some of your facial expressions and body movements
- enjoy socializing while you feed and bathe me
- can bring my hands together and bring my hands to my mouth
- am becoming more interested in playing with colourful objects that make sounds
- really enjoy sucking and chewing on objects – please make sure they are safe for me!
- am getting stronger and can sit for longer periods of time, with support
- may become withdrawn or unresponsive if I am ignored all day
By 5 months old I…
- can roll from my tummy to my back
- my vision is improving a lot, and I am beginning to connect the sight of objects with their smell, feel, taste, and sounds that they make
- like to bounce up and down while you hold me
- recognize the sound of my own name and smile when you call to me!
- will likely show a preference for one caregiver
- can laugh out loud
- hold my head up more easily
- can pull myself up to a sitting position by holding onto your fingers
- am grasping objects with my thumb and fingers – I also drop the objects I pick up too!
By 6 months old I…
- can roll from my back onto my tummy!
- have learned all the basic sounds of the language(s) that I hear spoken every day
- like to play peek-a-boo
- may be teething (even though my new teeth may not be showing yet). You may notice me drooling, acting fussy, or chewing on things a lot in the next few months.
- reach for my feet and love to put things in my mouth
- want constant attention from my caregiver – I will coo and squeal for attention
- am making more and more sounds and will respond by babbling when you speak to me
- am starting to learn how to crawl, but I will topple forwards while I am practicing
- can stand up while you help by holding me
- love to play with you and will respond to you with laughs and smiles
Adults can support babies’ development from 4 – 6 months by…
- Giving your baby a small amount of supervised “tummy time”. Your baby is ready for tummy time (time to lie on her tummy on the floor) when she is able to lift her head. Tummy time allows babies to develop their muscles and to learn movement. Tummy time should always end if your baby begins to get frustrated.
- Giving your baby toys with interesting textures, or that make sounds.
- Playing games with your baby. Games such as “This little piggy went to market” and “Peek-a-boo” are good for babies this age.
- Talking to your baby. As you are walking or playing with your baby, describe the things you see – your baby is already learning language from you.
By 6 to 9 months I…
- can sit without support for short periods of time
- can point to objects and retrieve objects that I have dropped
- will likely be teething and may have trouble sleeping and eating because my mouth is sometimes very sore!
- will use both hands at the same time (please tell my doctor if I am not using both hands)
- can drink from a sippy cup
- have vision that is almost as good as an adult’s vision
- will smile at myself in a mirror
- am developing very strong bonds with my primary caregivers, and may begin to be shy or fearful of strangers
- am learning to wave bye-bye
- throw, shake, bang, and wave objects around
- will climb onto furniture and am learning to walk with support
- may imitate your facial expressions
- depend on you for comfort and soothing
By 10 to 12 months I…
- am crawling and cruising
- can stand all on my own, or with light support
- like to hold my own spoon and cup, and might try to feed myself
- am probably saying “mama” and/or “dada”
- enjoy playing with siblings
- can take off my shoes and socks
- will turn when you call my name
- know where to find familiar objects
- can climb up and down stairs
- like to look at pictures in books
- will seek approval and avoid disapproval
- am developing self-identify and independence
- love to explore and “talk” back and forth with my caregivers
Adults can support babies’ healthy development at this age by..
- Playing ‘back and forth’ games, such as rolling a ball back and forth or passing objects back and forth with your baby.
- Talking to your baby. Try pausing to give your baby a chance to “talk” back to you. He is learning how communication works!
- Showing your baby how to do things – she learns by imitating you.
- Taking your baby with you while you go grocery shopping – there are so many interesting sights, sounds, and smells for him! Try to make trips short if your baby get frustrated. You can also take a toy with you for the baby, and let him help out by handing him soft, unbreakable items to put in the cart.
- Putting your baby’s actions into words. Say things like “You finished all your food. Now your tummy is full!”, “You are not interested in this ball today. You want to play with your teddy bear”, or “You are pointing at your sippy cup. You must want to drink because you are thirsty”.
- Continuing to breastfeed until at least one year of age, if possible. Babies are generally ready to begin eating solid foods at 6 months of age, but still benefit greatly when breastfeeding continues.
By 12 to 15 Months I…
- can walk while holding your hand
- like to turn the pages of books
- may be saying 5 to 10 words other than “mama” and “dada”
- may stop doing something if you say “no”
- like nursery rhymes and playing games with you
- am often wary of strangers
- can point to body parts when you name them
- am affectionate with others
- am learning how to stack blocks, roll balls and toy cars
- can scribble with a crayon
- am likely to take my first few steps while holding an adult’s hand
By 16 to 18 Months I…
- will say things such as “more” ; I can say 5 to 15 words now, or maybe more!
- understand about 10 times as many words as I can say!
- can understand and can follow very simple instructions
- show that I understand words and recognize people’s names by looking or pointing at them when you say them
- combine gestures and words to tell you what I want
- can be emotionally unstable, become frustrated easily, and may be unhappy when you leave
- will likely be walking on my own
By 19 to 21 Months I…
- am learning to imitate your behaviour
- am beginning to scribble and draw, and to recognize and name pictures in books that you read to me
- can walk down stairs while holding an adult’s hand
- play games like ‘hide and go seek’ and ‘peek-a-boo’ with you
- can say 20 to 50 words and am learning how to put 2 words together!
- will play beside other children, but not with other children quite yet
- play with balls, dolls, and toys
- dance to music, splash in the tub, play with simple puzzles
By 22 to 24 Months I…
- will be using about 50 to 100 words
- pull a wagon, jump with two feet, and run
- am becoming more and more independent and like to get my way
- am often affectionate with the people I know and love
- like to play make-believe and use my imagination a lot
- might be irritable, bossy, or and try to hit or bite other people
- like to be encouraged by you
- can turn a door knob
Adults can support babies’ development from 12 to 24 months by…
- Giving your baby paper and thick crayons to play with.
- Giving your baby a doll or stuffed animal to take care of.
- Talking with your baby every day. Try to get down to your child’s level when you speak with her so she can see your face while you talk.
- Reading simple picture books to your baby.
- Exploring in the backyard or a park with your tyke.
- Providing a daily routine and lots of attention.
By 2 years and six months I…
- am learning how to dress myself, and appreciate your help when I put on more complicated clothing
- can say about 50 words and understand about 500 words
- will begin to speak using 2 to 3-word sentences
- can be impatient at times and get scared of things sometimes – it helps when you comfort me
- may be possessive of my toys and want other children’s toys
- enjoy using playground equipment
By 2 years and 12 Months I…
- am learning how to balance on one foot
- can follow directions
- am learning to try new things and need encouragement from you
- am negative at times (I use words like no, don’t, won’t and can’t)
- am learning concepts such as big, small, fast, slow
- enjoy playing with other children and am learning to co-operate with others
- can walk upstairs (alternating my feet just like adults do!)
- am starting to use more descriptive words
- eat well with a fork and spoon (I am developing my fine motor skills and becoming more independent!)
Adults can support children’s healthy development at this age by…
- Providing a daily routine for your child.
- Being patient, affectionate, and giving your child lots of attention.
- Playing with your child.
- Encouraging your child to explore, with your supervision.
When I am 3 year old I…
- can put away my toys, learn by helping out with chores, and go up and down stairs very well (I am developing my gross motor skills!)
- can stack about 10 blocks, can pour and fill objects and draw circles and squares (I am developing my fine motor skills!)
- can talk about my feelings and the feelings of those around me (I am learning about emotions and social skills!)
- know and use nearly 1000 words and am expressing more thoughts, needs, and questions
- am learning how to speak in sentences
- am beginning to make friends with other children
- enjoy playing interactively with children my age
- have lots of energy and love to talk
- am less easily frustrated by things and am learning to control my emotions more easily
- like to jump, climb, dance, and show you all the things I can do!
Adults can support children’s development at this age by…
- Modeling good sentence structure and grammar while speaking with children.
- Never make fun of children when they make mistakes – it can hurt their feelings and they may become scared of making a mistake!
- Have lots of conversations with your child – listening to children’s thoughts, answering their questions thoughtfully, and sharing stories encourages children by helping them feel loved and valued while they learn.
- Give children words of encouragement and reassurance to help them feel independent, capable, and secure.
- Reading with your children everyday – make storytime special by talking about pictures and stories in the books you read.
- Play outdoors with your child – walk beside your child while s/he rides a tricycle, play games in the grass, plant a garden together, have an outdoor picnic, or just go for a walk and take time to chat and relax.
When I am four years old I…
- can communicate well and carry on a conversation about a topic with other children and with adults
- can brush my own teeth
- am very adventurous and can get frustrated by rules and limits
- can ride a bicycle with training wheels and supervision
- usually sleep through the night
- use over 2000 words to communicate (my sentence structure is improving too!)
- am able to share toys and play well with other children
- can hold a crayon with my thumb and finger (instead of my fist)
- can draw simple people and everyday things
- can cut squares and circles out of paper
- skip, jump, run, dance, hop on one foot, throw and catch balls, and balance on one foot
- may misbehave, tell fibs, and be demanding or stubborn
- often seek approval and want to impress others
Adults can support children’s development at this age by…
- Letting children help with chores such as setting the table, tidying up, preparing meals, raking leaves or shoveling, planting flowers and watering plants, folding laundry, sweeping the floor, walking the dog, and taking out the garbage.
- Limiting TV in the house – studies show that if children are often distracted from their play and learning by a TV being on in a nearby room.
- Playing with our kids outdoors – this helps children release energy, develop gross motor skills, and develop social skills.
- Providing a daily routine.
- Being affectionate, compassionate, and showing interest in our children.
- Allowing children to be independent, while providing supervision and safety.
- Reading with your child every night.
- Teaching your child about number concepts while you play.
- Explore Regina with your child – use our Activities Calendar to find free and low-cost activities for you and your child to enjoy throughout the year!
When I am 5 years old I…
- don’t need help washing up at bathtime
- can count to 10 or 20 on my own
- can recognize a few written words in books
- can write my first name and write the numbers 1 to 5
- like to tell jokes
- am becoming more well-coordinated and have good balance
- can tell more complicated stories
- can jump rope, do somersaults, and play on swings without a push
- use the toilet independently and wash my hands
- can concentrate and work independently on a task for half an hour
- am becoming more social, reasonable, and am interested in my friends
Adults can support children’s development at this age by…
- Writing and drawing with your child.
- Playing games that include letters and numbers.
- Reading out loud with your child everyday – let them follow along with the words you are reading.
- Teaching your child how to share, to take turns, to say sorry, and how to get along with others.
- Encouraging children to feel positive about school and taking an interest in their daily experiences.
- Making sure children understand and follow rules and limits.
- Doing their best to answer your child’s questions.
- Limiting the use of TV in the house.
Early Developmental Red Flags
Developmental milestones are useful guidelines for monitoring children’s development, but babies these milestones at different times. If your child is delayed in one area, it does not mean that he or she has a health problem or developmental delay. However, it is important to talk to your doctor whenever you have concerns. Identifying problems early usually offers the best opportunities for successful treatment.
When you speak to a health care professional, it may help to provide them with concrete examples that have led you to be concerned for your child’s development. Seek other information sources if you feel your concerns are not addressed or if you have any other communication problems with your child’s doctor.
Contact your child’s doctor or a public health nurse immediately if you notice:
- No babbling, pointing, or other gestures by 12 months; or
- Saying no single words by 16 months; or
- Saying no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months, with the exception of repeating repeated phrases; or
- Your child loses any language or social skills at any age.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, you may contact a public health nurse at one of Regina’s Child Health Clinics:
|North Office Public Health
204 Wascana St.
|East Office Public Health
1911 Park St.
|Four Directions Community Health Centre
1504 Albert St.
|By appointment only.
|By appointment only.
|No appointment necessary.
Call for drop-in hours.