Developmental Guidelines

Click on each age to see the developmental guidelines.

3 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at three months old.

3 Months

At 3 months, most babies:

  • Turn head toward sounds
  • Make cooing sounds
  • Lift head when on stomach
  • Smile

6 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at six months old.6 Months

At 6 months, most babies:

  • Reach for objects & pick them up
  • Switch toys from one hand to the other
  • Recognize familiar faces
  • Initiate speech sounds
  • Roll over

12 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at twelve months old.

12 Months

At 12 months, most babies:

  • Get into a sitting position
  • Stand briefly without support
  • Crawl
  • Imitate adults using a cup or telephone
  • Wave Bye Bye
  • Say at least 1 word

18 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at eighteen months old.

18 Months

At 1 1/2 years, most children:

  • Follow simple directions
  • Can help undress
  • Point to a picture that you name in a book
  • Walk without help
  • Point, or show others something interesting.
  • Says several single months

24 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at twenty four months old.

24 Months

At 2 years, most children:

  • Use 2-3 word sentences
  • Kick a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Feed themselves with a spoon
  • Identify hair, eyes, ears & nose by pointing
  • Build a tower of 4 blocks

36 Months

Developmental guidelines for children at thirty six months old.

36 Months

At 3 years, most children:

  • Throw a ball overhand
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Put on their shoes
  • Open the door
  • Turn 1 page at a time
  • Play with other children for a few minutes
  • Repeat common rhymes
  • Use 3-5 word sentences
  • Name at least 1 color correctly

3-4 Years


3-4 Years Old 

Developmental guidelines for children at three to four years old.

  • Run around obstacles
  • Walk on a line
  • Balance on one foot
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Use a slide without help
  • Throw & catch a ball
  • Use construction blocks
  • Complete simple tasks with food without assistance
    (such as spreading butter with a dull knife & pouring from a small pitcher)
  • Wash hands unassisted & blow nose when reminded
  • Begin dramatic play, acting out whole scenes
    (such as traveling, pretending to be animals)
  • Identify parts of a whole, like a slice of pie
  • Actively seek information through why & how questions
  • Tell you their full name & age
  • Make themselves understood to strangers using sentences
    (despite some sound errors)
  • Use more complex grammar
    (such as plurals & past tense)
  • Understand sentences involving time concepts & narrate past experiences
  • Understand size comparisons such as big & bigger
  • Follow a series of 2-4 related directions

4-5 Years

Developmental guidelines for children at four to five years old.
4-5 Years Old 

  • Jump forward many times without falling
  • Hops and may be able to skip
  • Turn somersaults
  • Use safety scissors
  • Print a few capital letters
  • Show some understanding of moral reasoning
    (exploring ideas about fairness and good or bad behavior)
  • Develop friendships and aware of gender
  • Enjoys singing, dancing and acting
  • Point to & name many colors
  • Draw a person with detail
  • Draw, name & describe pictures
  • Count to 5
  • Tell you their street & town
  • Retell a story using full sentences (may confuse facts)
  • Speaks very clearly
  • Use words like “can” “will” “shall” “should” & “might”
  • Refer to casuality by using “because” and “so”

The above information was taken from the New York State Department of Health publication “Early Help Makes a Difference.”