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Typical Toddler Development

Development Milestones

Babies develop at their own pace, but these milestones will give you an idea of the skills your child should begin to show.

At 9 months

two babies looking at each other

  • Smiles and laughs while looking at you
  • Turn to sounds they hear
  • Reach for toys or other items they want
  • Make vocalizations to get your attention or help

At 12 months

baby standing holding onto adults hands
  • Respond to their name
  • Understand simple directions with gestures
  • Use gestures like giving, pointing, and showing
  • Use sounds and maybe a few words
  • Play social games like peek-a-boo
  • Respond to "no"
  • Try to imitate sounds and gestures
  • Show you things that interest them

At 18 months Child holding bright red phone and pointing to the left

  • Use at least 10 words
  • Make more than 5 different consonant sounds
  • Imitate words they hear
  • Identify body parts when named
  • Does early pretend play actions like feeding dolls or stuffed animals

At 24 months Girl smiling big with both arms up

  • Use at least 50 words
  • Say simple sentences like "daddy go work" and "what's that?"
  • Put many pretend play actions together
  • Recognize pictures in books and listen to simple stories
  • Are more excited about the company of other children
  • Begin to sort by shapes and colors
  • Follow simple instructions
  • Imitate behavior of others, especially adults and older children

At 36 months boy ready to blow bubbles

  • Express affection openly
  • Follow a 2 or 3 part command
  • Understand most sentences
  • Use 4 to 5 word sentences
  • Can take turns in games