Milestones & Red Flags

Rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking are all considered milestones. The milestones are different for every age range. Developmental milestones are a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age range.

Red flags are developmental markers suggesting the need for further evaluation. They serve as a medium for developmental screening to ensure that a child is on the right developmental path.

Developmental Milestones

1-3 Months

 

Red Flags

1-3 Months

 

Developmental Milestones

4-7 Months

 

Red Flags

4-7 Months

 

Developmental Milestones

8-12 Months

 

Red Flags

8-12 Months

 

Developmental Milestones

12-24 Months

 

Red Flags

12-24 Months

 

Developmental Milestones

24-36 Months

 

Red Flags

24-36 Months

 

Developmental Milestones

4-5 Years

 

Red Flags

4-5 Years

 

1-3 Months
Developmental Milestones

 Motor Milestones

  • Retains hold of object/rattle (1-2mos.)
  • Brings hands towards center of body when lying on back (1-2 mos.)
  • Raises head and cheek when lying on stomach (3 mos.)
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach (3 mos.)
  • Stretches legs out when lying on stomach or back (2-3 mos.)
  • Opens and shuts hands (2-3 mos.)
  • Pushes down on his legs when his feet are placed on firm surface (3 mos.)
  • Occasionally rolls from stomach to back (3 mos.)

Cognitive Milestones

  • Responds to voice i.e. turn to, wiggle, reacts (0-1 mos.)
  • Watches face intently (2-3 mos.)
  • Follows moving objects (2 mos.)
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance (3 mos.)
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination (3 mos.)

Language Milestones

  • Makes sucking sounds (1-2 mos.)
  • Smiles at the sound of voice (2-3 mos.)
  • Cooing noises; vocal play (begins at 3 mos.)
  • Attends to sound (1-3 mos.)
  • Startles to loud noise (1-3 mos.)

Social Emotional Milestones

  • Makes eye contact (0-1 mos.)
  • Begins to develop a social smile (1-3 mos.)
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops (2-3 mos.)
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body (2-3 mos.)
Red Flags
  • Doesn’t seem to respond to loud noises
  • Doesn’t follow moving objects with eyes by 2 to 3 months
  • Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by 2 months
  • Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by 3 months Doesn’t smile at people by 3 months
  • Cannot support head well at 3 months
  • Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by 3 to 4 months
  • Doesn’t bring objects to mouth by 4 months
  • Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a firm surface by 4 months
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
  • Crosses eyes most of the time (occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months)
4-7 Months
Developmental Milestones

 Motor Milestones

  • Pushes up on extended arms (5 mos.)
  • Pulls to sitting with no head lag (5 mos.)
  • Sits with support of his hands (5-6 mos.)
  • Sits unsupported for short periods (6-8 mos.)
  • Supports whole weight on legs (6-7 mos.)
  • Grasps feet (6 mos.)
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand (6-7 mos.)
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer) (6 mos.)
  • Routinely rolls from stomach to back and back to stomach (6 mos.)

Cognitive Milestones

  • Plays peek-a-boo (4-7 mos.)
  • Looks for a family member or pet when named (4-7 mos.)
  • Explores with hands and mouth (4-7 mos.)
  • Tracks moving objects with ease (4-7 mos.)
  • Finds partially hidden objects (6-7 mos.)
  • Grasps objects dangling in front of him (5-6 mos.)
  • Looks for fallen toys (5-7 mos.)

Language Milestones

  • Laughs and squeals out loud (4-7 mos.)
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice (4-7 mos.)
  • Responds to sound by making sounds (4-6 mos.)
  • Responds to spoken “bye-bye” by waving (4-7 mos.)
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure (4-6 mos.)
  • Localizes or turns toward sounds (5-6 mos.)
  • Syllable repetition begins (5-7 mos.)

Social Emotional Milestones

  • Enjoys social play (4-7 mos.)
  • Interested in mirror images (5-7 mos.)
  • Can calm down with 1⁄2 hour when upset (6 mos.)
  • Responds to other people’s expression of emotion (4-7 mos.)
Red Flags
  • Seems very stiff, tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll
  • Head still flops back when body is pulled to sitting position (by 5 months still exhibits head lag)
  • Shows no affection for the person who cares for them
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
  • One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
  • Persistent tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light
  • Does not respond to sounds around them
  • Has difficulty getting objects to mouth
  • Does not turn head to locate sounds by 4 months
  • Doesn’t roll over (stomach to back) by 6 months
  • Cannot sit with help by 6 months (not by themselves)
  • Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by 5 months
  • Does not actively reach for objects by 6 months
  • Does not follow objects with both eyes
  • Does not bear some weight on legs by 5 months
  • Has difficulty calming self, cries for long periods of time
8-12 Months
Developmental Milestones

 Gross Motor Milestones

  • Crawls forward on belly (8-9 mos.)
  • Assumes hand and knee position (8-9 mos.)
  • Gets to sitting position without assistance (8-10 mos.)
  • Pulls self up to standing position at furniture (8-10 mos.)
  • Creeps on hands and knees (9 mos.)
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position (9-10 mos.)
  • Walks holding onto furniture (10-13 mos.)
  • Stands momentarily without support (11-13 mos.)
  • May walk two or three steps without support (11-13 mos.)

Fine Motor Milestones

  • Uses pincer grasp (grasp using thumb and index finger) (7-10 mos.)
  • Bangs two one-inch cubes together (8-12 mos.)
  • Pokes with index finger (9-12 mos.)
  • Puts objects into container (10-12 mos.)
  • Takes objects out of container (10-12 mos.)
  • Tries to imitate scribbling (10-12 mos.)

Cognitive Milestones

  • Looks at correct picture when image is named (8-9 mos.)
  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping) (8-10mos.)
  • Enjoys looking at pictures in books (9-12 mos.)
  • Imitates gestures (9-12 mos.)
  • Engages in simple games of Peek-a-Boo, Pat-a-Cake, or rolling ball to another (9-12mos.)
  • Finds hidden objects easily (10-12 mos.)

Language Milestones

  • Babbles “dada” and “mama” (7-8 mos.)
  • Babbles with inflection (7-9 mos.)
  • Says “dada” and “mama” for specific person (8-10mos.)
  • Responds to “no” by briefly stopping activity and noticing adult (9-12 mos.)
  • Responds to simple verbal requests, such as “Give me” (9-14 mos.)
  • Makes simple gestures such as shaking head for “no” (12 mos.)
  • Uses exclamations such as “oh-oh” (12 mos.)

Self-Help Milestones

  • Finger-feeds himself (8-12 mos.)
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed (9-12 mos.)
  • May hold spoon when feeding (9-12 mos.)

Social Emotional Milestones

  • Shy or anxious with strangers (8-12 mos.)
  • Cries when mother or father leaves (8-12 mos.)
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play (10-12 mos.)
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys (8-12 mos.)
  • Prefers mother and/or regular care provider over all others (8-12 mos.)
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention (10-12 mos.)
  • May test parents at bedtime (9-12 mos.)
Red Flags
  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden (10-12 mos.)
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not sit steadily by 10 months
  • Does not react to new environments and people
  • Does not seek out caregiver when stressed
  • Does not show interest in “peek-a-boo" or "patty cake” by 8 mos. Does not babble by 8 mos. (“dada,” “baba,” “mama”)
1-2 Years
Developmental Milestones

Gross Motor Milestones

  • Walks alone (12-16 mos.)
  • Pulls toys behind him while walking (13-16 mos.)
  • Carries large toy or several toys while walking (12-15 mos.)
  • Begins to run stiffly (16-18 mos.)
  • Walks into ball (18-24 mos.)
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture unsupported (16-24 mos.)
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on to support (18-24 mos.)

Fine Motor Milestones

  • Scribbles spontaneously (14-16 mos.)
  • Turns over container to pour out contents (12-18 mos.)
  • Builds tower of four blocks or more (20-24 mos.)
  • Completes simple knobbed wooden puzzles of 3 to 4 pieces (21-24 mos.)

Language Milestones

  • Says “no” with meaning (13-15 mos.)
  • Follows simple, one-step instructions (14-18 mos.)
  • Says several single words (15-18 mos.)
  • Recognizes names of familiar people, objects, and body parts (18-24 mos.)
  • Points to object or picture when it’s named for them (18-24 mos.)
  • Repeats words overheard in conversations (16-18 mos.)
  • Uses two-word sentences (18-24 mos.)

Cognitive Milestones

  • Finds objects even when hidden under 2 or 3 covers (13-15 mos.)
  • Will listen to short story book with pictures (15-20 mos.)
  • Identifies one body part (15-24 mos.)
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors (20-24 mos.)
  • Begins make-believe play (20-24 mos.)

Self-Help Milestones

  • Starts to feed self with spoon, with some spilling (13-18 mos.)
  • Likes to play with food when eating (18-24 mos.)
  • Can put shoes on with help (20-24 mos.)
  • Can open doors by turning knobs (18-24 mos.)
  • Can drink from open cup, with some spilling (18-24 mos.)

Social-Emotional Milestones

  • Imitates behavior of others, especially adults and older children (18-24 mos.)
  • Increasingly enthusiastic about company or other children (20-24 mos.)
  • Demonstrates increasing independence (18-24 mos.)
  • Begins to show defiant behavior (18-24 mos.)
  • Episodes of separation anxiety increase toward midyear, then fade
Red Flags
  • Cannot walk by 18 months
  • Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking, or walks exclusively on toes
  • Does not speak at least 15 words by 18 months
  • Does not use unique two-word phrases by age 2 (more milk, big dog, mommy help)
  • By 15 months does not seem to know the function of common household objects(brush, telephone, cup, fork, spoon)
  • Does not imitate actions or words by 24 mos.
  • Does not follow simple one-step instructions by 24 mos.
  • Cannot identify self
  • Cannot form a two-word phrase
  • Cannot hold and use a spoon or cup for eating and drinking
  • Does not display a wide array of emotions (anger, fear, happy, excited, frustrated)
2-3 Years
Developmental Milestones

Gross Motor Milestones

  • Climbs well (24-30 mos.)
  • Walks down stairs alone, placing both feet on each step (26-28 mos.)
  • Walks up stairs alternating feet with support (24-30 mos.)
  • Swings leg to kick ball (24-30 mos.)
  • Runs easily (24-26 mos.)
  • Pedals tricycle (30-36 mos.)
  • Bends over easily without falling (24-30 mos.)

Fine Motor Milestones

  • Makes vertical, horizontal, circular strokes with pencil or crayon (30-36 mos.)
  • Turns book pages one at a time (24-30 mos.)
  • Builds a tower of more than 6 blocks (24-30 mos.)
  • Holds a pencil in writing position (30-36 mos.)
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids, nuts, and bolts (24-30 mos.)
  • Turns rotating handles (door knob) (24-30 mos.)

Language Milestones

  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they) (24-30 mos.)
  • Understands most sentences (24-40 mos.)
  • Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures (26-32 mos.)
  • Shows frustration when not understood by others (28-36 mos.)
  • Understands physical relationships (on, in, under) (30-36 mos.)
  • Can say name, age, and sex (30-36 mos.)
  • Uses words to communicate wants and needs (30-36 mos.)
  • Knows simple rhymes and songs (30-36 mos.)
  • Strangers can understand most of words (30-36 mos.)

Cognitive Milestones

  • Makes mechanical toys work (30-36 mos.)
  • Matches an object in hand or room to a picture in a book (24-30 mos.)
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people (24-36 mos.)
  • Sorts objects by color (30-36 mos.)
  • Completes puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces (24-36 mos.)
  • Understands concept of “two” (26-32 mos.)
  • Listens to stories (24-36 mos.)
  • Knows several body parts (24-36 mos.)

Self-Help Milestones

  • Can pull pants down with help (24-36 mos.)
  • Helps put things away (24-36 mos.)
  • Serves self at table with some spilling (30-36 mos.)

Social-Emotional Milestones

  • Uses the word “mine” often (24-36 mos.)
  • Says “no” but will still do what is asked (24-36 mos.)
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions (24-36 mos.)
  • Objects to major changes in routine, but is becoming more compliant (24-36 mos.)
  • Begins to follow simple rules (30-36 mos.)
  • Begins to separates more easily from parents (by 36 mo.)
Red Flags
  • Frequent falling and difficulty with stairs
  • Persistent drooling or very unclear speech
  • Inability to build a tower of more than 4 blocks
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects
  • Inability to copy a circle by 3 years old
  • Inability to communicate in short phrases
  • No involvement in pretend play
  • Cannot feed self with spoon or drink from cup independently
  • Failure to understand simple instructions
  • Little interest in other children
  • Extreme difficulty separating from primary caregiver
3-4 Years
Developmental Milestones

Gross Motor Milestones

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  • Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food

Fine Motor Milestones

  • Spreads paste/glue on one side of paper; sticks it to another
  • Puts together simple inset puzzle
  • Can use scissor to cut on a straight line
  • Holds paper with one hand while drawing with the other
  • Can identify through touch: Hot/Cold, Wet/Dry. Hard/Soft, Thin/Fat
  • Can draw picture of a person (stick figures)
  • Mature tripod for holding writing/coloring tools

Language Milestones

  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using
    “he” and “she”
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the
    “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”
  • Tells stories
  • Can say first and last name

Cognitive Milestones

  • Names some colors and some numbers
  • Understands the idea of counting
  • Starts to understand time
  • Remembers parts of a story
  • Understands the idea of “same” and “different”
  • Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Starts to copy some capital letters
  • Plays board or card games
  • Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book

Self-Help Milestones

  • Puts shoes on correct feet
  • Washes and dries hands without assistance
  • Indicates need to use toilet
  • Helps to dry self after a bath
  • Puts comb/brush in hair
  • Serves self at table, pouring and scooping with no spilling
  • Undresses independently
  • Wipes hands and mouth dry after brushing teeth

Social-Emotional Milestones

  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad"
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Would rather play with other children than by himself
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in
Red Flags
  • Can’t jump in place
  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
  • Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside
    the family
  • Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet
  • Can’t retell a favorite story
  • Doesn’t follow 3-part commands
  • Doesn’t understand “same” and “different”
  • Doesn’t use “me” and “you” correctly
  • Speaks unclearly
  • Loses skills he once had
4-5 Years
Developmental Milestones

Gross Motor Milestones

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops, somersaults
  • Swings, climbs
  • May be able to skip

Fine Motor Milestones

  • Copies triangle and other geometric patterns
  • Draws person with body
  • Prints some letters
  • Dresses and undresses without assistance

Language Milestones

  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Speaks sentences of more than 5 words
  • Uses future tense
  • Tells longer stories
  • Says name and address

Cognitive Milestones

  • Can count 10 or more objects
  • Correctly names at least 4 colors
  • Works in small groups for 5-10 minutes
  • Better understands the concept of time
  • Knows about things used every day in the home (money, food, etc.)

Self-Help Milestones

  • Uses fork, spoon independently
  • Can chew with lips closed
  • Goes to the bathroom independently, with reminders
  • Undresses independently, may be able to unbutton and unzip

Social-Emotional Milestones

  • Wants to please
  • Prefers to be with friends
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Shows more independence
Red Flags
  • Exhibits extremely aggressive, fearful or timid behavior
  • Is unable to separate from parents
  • Is easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Shows little interest in playing with other children
  • Refuses to respond to people in general
  • Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play
  • Seems unhappy or sad much of the time
  • Avoids or seems aloof with other children and adults
  • Does not express a wide range of emotions
  • Has trouble eating, sleeping or using the toilet
  • Cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality
  • Seems unusually passive
  • Cannot understand prepositions ("put the cup on the table"; "get the ball under the couch")
  • Cannot follow 2-part commands (“pick up the toy and put it on the shelf”)
  • Cannot give his first and last name
  • Does not use plurals or past tense
  • Cannot build a tower of 6 to 8 blocks
  • Holds crayon with fisted grasp
  • Has trouble taking off clothing
  • Unable to brush teeth or wash and dry hands