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Babies, toddlers and children – childhood milestones to expect

07 November 2018
Babies, toddlers and children – childhood milestones to expect

Milestones you can expect:


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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