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Healthy Infant Development

Common Characteristics of Growth and Development from Birth to Age 2

Children are growing and changing continuously. While each child develops at his or her own rate, there are certain characteristics that are common to each child at each stage of development. The information that follows is meant to be used as a guideline to help you understand and enjoy your child. Please remember that some children will do things earlier or later than the ages listed below. If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, talk to your child's doctor or other health care provider.

At 1 month of age, your child: 

  • Lifts head briefly when lying on stomach
  • Has an equal arm and leg movement
  • Watches and follows object with eyes for a short time
  • May hold head in line with back when pulled to sit
  • Notices your face, stares at objects
  • Makes throaty sounds
At 2 months of age, your child:
  • Holds head up without bobbing when supported
  • Responds to smiling person with occasional smile
  • Makes vocalizing sounds (cooing, pleasure sounds)
  • Grasps objects
  • Puts hands together
  • Begins to wiggle around

At 3 months of age, your child,

  • May be able to sit with support
  • May be able to lean on elbows while on stomach
  • Moves arms and legs vigorously
  • Reaches with both arms, may bring hands together
  • Begins to bat at objects, may voluntarily hold and wave a toy
  • Explores own face with hands; may suck on fingers or fists
  • Smiles easily and spontaneously
  • Coos, chuckles, squeaks, gurgles in response to sounds
  • Enjoys blowing bubbles
  • Recognizes bottle or breast
  • Stops sucking to listen
  • Cries can be sorted out for hunger, discomfort, and pain
  • May roll to side

At 4 months of age, your child:

  • Holds head steady when held in lap to sit
  • Rolls from side to side
  • Rolls from stomach onto side to back
  • When on stomach, can lift chest and head up, supporting self with outstretched hands or forearms
  • Grasps small objects, such as a spoon, held near hand
  • Begins reaching, bringing things in mouth
  • Plays with hands and feet; enjoys kicking feet
  • Enjoys playing
  • Laughs aloud; may laugh when tickled
  • Interest in making new sounds and imitates several tones
  • Vocalizes likes and dislikes

At 6 months of age, your child:

  • Rolls both front to back and back to front
  • May sit by self
  • Can rock on all fours
  • Enjoys supporting self on legs
  • Brings feet to mouth and sucks on toes
  • Picks up toys with both hands
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand and hand to mouth
  • Examines things thoroughly, shaking, turning, mouthing, dropping
  • Can reach and get objects out of reach; pulls noses, clothing, and jewelry of others
  • Babbles more than two sounds; begins to imitate speech sounds
  • Enjoys sound-making toys, music
  • Turns when hearing his or her own name
  • May fear strangers

At 9 months of age, your baby,

  • Sits alone; can change position without falling
  • Pulls self to standing
  • May begin to walk, holding onto furniture
  • May crawl up stairs
  • Plays with two things at the same time
  • Is able to pick up string, other small objects; uses thumb and index finger to pick items up
  • Likes to poke
  • Enjoys banging wooden spoon on pots and pans
  • Puts objects in containers, will dump them out and refill
  • Waves 'bye-bye'
  • Copies cough, tongue clicks, hisses; makes 'talking' sounds to others talking to him and toys
  • Says 'mama' and 'dada'; may say 'hi' and 'bye'
  • May follow simple instructions (example: 'Bring me your shoes')
  • May be shy with strangers
  • Able to drink from a cup

At 12 months of age, your child:

  • Walks, holds on with both hands; can turn around while standing
  • Stands with little support
  • Picks things up with thumb and one finger
  • Stacks two or more blocks. Enjoys putting things inside containers.
  • Gives toy on request
  • Gives affection to adult and favorite toys and clothes
  • May say two or three words other than 'mama', 'dada'
  • Imitates gestures, other behaviors.
  • May point to body parts on request
  • Enjoys water play, peek-a-boo, go-and-get games

At 15 months of age, your child:

  • Stands alone well
  • Able to walk without support
  • May walk a few steps sideways and backward
  • Climbs up stairs on hands and knees
  • Stoops to pick things up
  • Drops toys and watches them fall
  • Enjoys sorting, dumping, and stacking play
  • Can stack at least three blocks
  • Loves to climb into, onto, and out of furniture, crib, highchair, and stroller
  • Indicates wants without crying
  • May use four to five words
  • Loves to imitate (enjoys an audience, complete with clapping)
  • Enjoys playing side by side with other children (parallel play), although there is little or no cooperative (interactive) play
  • Feeds self some of the time

At 18 months old, your child:

  • Walks, may run; rarely falls when running
  • Climbs up or down one stair; continues to enjoy climbing (example: onto table, out of crib)
  • May imitate parent routines (example: brushing hair or teeth, housework, wiping up)
  • May sit on toilet or potty-chair, may be able to let you know when diapers need changing.
  • Says 'no' even when he or she doesn't mean it
  • May use five to ten words other than 'mama', 'dada'; may begin to use two word phrases
  • Beginning to 'pretend'
  • Enjoys repetitive songs, nursery rhymes; routines (dressing and bedtime, for example) may be important
  • Likes being read to; turns pages of a book a few at a time
  • May be able to imitate sounds; may be able to tell you what sounds certain animals make (for instance, dog, cat, duck) while looking at pictures
  • Likes to blow bubbles
  • Scribbles spontaneously
  • Uses spoon, spilling little

At 24 months, your child:

  • Loves to run, jump and climb; runs well
  • Walks up steps or stairs
  • Can kick large ball, throws ball overhead
  • Can stack four to eight cubes
  • Points to body parts
  • Talks in two to three word 'sentences'/phrases; sentences are growing, is putting more and more words together; talks to self a great deal.
  • Asks for items by name
  • Enjoys books, turns pages two to three at a time; knows if book is upside down
  • Takes off clothing
  • Helps in simple household tasks
  • Enjoys copying parents' activities
  • Uses crayon or pencil
  • Fiercely independent; wants to do things for self, even though he or she may not be able to.
  • Routine is important

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