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2160 S. State Rte. 157, Suite B, Glen Carbon, IL 62034


Developmental milestones are skills — like using a spoon, following two-step instructions and hopping on one foot —that most children (75% or more) can do by a certain age. Curious whether your child’s development is appropriate for their age? Below is an abbreviated list of developmental milestones from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children 2 to 5 years old.

2 years:

  • Notices when others are hurt or upset, like pausing or looking sad when someone is crying
  • Looks at your face to see how to react in a new situation
  • Points to things in a book when you ask something like “Where is the bear?”
  • Says at least two words together, like “More milk”
  • Uses more gestures than just waving and pointing, like blowing a kiss or nodding yes
  • Tries to use switches, knobs or buttons on a toy
  • Kicks a ball
  • Runs
  • Walks (not climbs) up a few stairs with or without help
  • Eats with a spoon

30 months:

  • Shows you what they can do by saying, “Look at me!”
  • Follows simple routines when told, like helping to pick up toys when you say, “It’s cleanup time”
  • Says about 50 words
  • Says two or more words together, with one action word, like “Doggie run”
  • Says words like “I,” “me” or “we”
  • Uses things to pretend, like feeding a block to a doll as if it were food
  • Follows two-step instructions like “Put the toy down and close the door”
  • Shows they know at least one color, like pointing to a red crayon when you ask, “Which one is red?”
  • Uses hands to twist things, like turning doorknobs or unscrewing lids
  • Jumps off the ground with both feet

3 years:

  • Calms down within 10 minutes after you leave them, like at a child care drop-off
  • Talks with you in conversation using at least two back-and-forth exchanges
  • Asks “who,” “what,” “where” or “why” questions, like “Where is Mommy/Daddy?”
  • Says first name when asked
  • Talks well enough for others to understand, most of the time
  • Draws a circle, when you show them how
  • Avoids touching hot objects, like a stove, when you warn them
  • Strings items together, like large beads or macaroni
  • Puts on some clothes without help, like loose pants or a jacket
  • Uses a fork

4 years:

  • Pretends to be something else during play (teacher, superhero, dog)
  • Comforts others who are hurt or sad, like hugging a crying friend
  • Likes to be a “helper”
  • Changes behavior based on where they are (place of worship, library, playground)
  • Says sentences with four or more words
  • Tells what comes next in a well-known story
  • Catches a large ball most of the time
  • Serves themselves food or pours water, with adult supervision
  • Unbuttons some buttons
  • Holds crayon or pencil between fingers and thumb (not a fist)

5 years:

  • Follows rules or takes turns when playing games with other children
  • Sings, dances or acts for you
  • Tells a story they heard or made up with at least two events, like “A cat was stuck in a tree and a firefighter saved it”
  • Uses or recognizes simple rhymes (bat-cat, ball-tall)
  • Counts to 10
  • Names some numbers between 1 and 5 when you point to them
  • Uses words about time, like “yesterday,” “tomorrow,” “morning” or “night”
  • Names some letters when you point to them
  • Buttons some buttons
  • Hops on one foot

For a complete list of milestones, as well as a milestone moments checklist, visit the CDC website or download the CDC’s free Milestone Tracker App. For a complete list of milestones, as well as a milestone moments checklist, visit the CDC website or download the CDC’s free Milestone Tracker App.