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Babies, toddlers and children – childhood milestones to expect

07 November 2018
Watching children develop has got to be one of the wonders of parenthood. From the first smile, to those initial steps and starting school, let’s explore some key milestones typical of life’s first decade.
Babies, toddlers and children – childhood milestones to expect

Milestones you can expect:

Remember!

These are just a guide and every child develops at their own pace. If you have any questions about your child’s development, consult your doctor.

2 months

  • Starts smiling at others.
  • Directs head toward noises.
  • Notices faces.
  • Supports own head.

Tip: Speak, sing and read to your two month-old.

4 months

  • Mimics certain facial expressions and movements.
  • Starts babbling.
  • Reaches for objects.
  • May roll from stomach to back. Tip: Surround your baby with safe toys to explore.

6 months

  • Recognises familiar faces.
  • Uses sounds to express emotions.
  • Starts passing objects between hands.
  • Starts sitting unsupported; rolls from stomach to back and vice versa.

Tip: Point to and talk about things your baby notices.

9 months

  • May fear strangers.
  • Comprehends ‘no’.
  • Uses thumb and index finger to pick up objects.
  • Stands, with support; crawls; pulls self into seated position.

Tip: Play games that involve taking turns.

12 months

  • Cautious around strangers; gets upset when parent leaves.
  • Performs basic gestures (e.g. waving goodbye).
  • Follows simple instructions.
  • May take some steps plus stand unassisted.

Tip: Encourage your child to name body parts.

18 months

  • May throw tantrums.
  • Points at things he/she wants.
  • Can point to a body part.
  • Can walk and possibly run; eats using a spoon and drinks from a cup.

Tip: Encourage your child to use a cup and spoon at mealtimes.

2 years

  • Independence increases.
  • May start playing with, rather than just beside, other kids.
  • Can name body parts and familiar people.
  • Can kick a ball.

Tip: Encourage your 2-year-old to do basic chores.

3 years

  • Expresses more emotions.
  • Can follow 2- or 3-step instructions.
  • Can have a conversation.
  • Climbs and runs well.

Tip: Give 2- or 3-step instructions (e.g. “Go to the front door and put on your shoes.”).

4 years

  • Prefers playing with other kids than alone.
  • Shares stories.
  • Can use scissors and identify some colours and numbers.
  • Can usually catch a bounced ball.

Tip: Encourage imaginary play (e.g. dress-ups).

5-6 years

  • May be excited or nervous about starting school.
  • Benefits socially, emotionally and cognitively from playtime.
  • Emotional self-control and attention span increase.
  • Can learn how to jump rope and bike-ride.

Tip: Help prepare your child for school by applying classroom practices (e.g. listening, responding and asking questions about a topic).

6-8 years

  • Likes making friends.
  • Can do basic maths (e.g. addition and subtraction).
  • Speech is clear.
  • May do cartwheels and jump down steps.

Tip: Reassure your child that making mistakes is okay.

9-10 years

  • May experience a growth spurt.
  • Places great value on friends’ opinions.
  • May have more squabbles with siblings, especially younger ones.
  • Increasingly self-conscious.

Tip: Set up a study space at home for completing homework.

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