3 - 6 Months

  • Smiles spontaneously to human contact
  • Smiles when playing alone
  • Smiles at faces of several family members
  • Stops crying when spoken to
  • Shows different responses to different family members

6 - 9 Months

  • Responds to "Come here"
  • Becomes more outgoing with familiar people
  • Shows anxiety when separated from favorite caregiver
  • Likes to be with specific people

9 - 12 months

  • Reacts others' moods
  • Is fearful of strangers
  • Can tolerate momentary loss of contact with caregiver in unfamiliar places
  • Shows off to get attention

12 - 18 months

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of between 5 - 20 words
  • Is aware of the value of communication
  • Follows simple directions, especially with gesture
  • Practices intonation, sometimes imitating an adult
  • Uses mostly nouns with a few others, such as down or up
  • Uses meaningful jargon with inflection and emotion

18 - 24 months

  • Names common objects
  • Uses two or three prepositions such as on, in or under
  • Uses noun + verb consistently
  • Family understands about 75% of what child says
  • Receptive and expressive vocabulary is about 150-300 words
  • Rhythm and fluency of speech is still poor
  • Uses I, me and you but may confuse "I and "me"
  • Control of pitch and volume is poor
  • My and mine emerge (with vengeance!)
  • Follows commands, such as "Show me your nose."

24 - 30 months

  • Uses I, you and me correctly
  • Uses some plurals and past tense
  • Knows principle body parts
  • Uses three-word sentences
  • Has about 900 words
  • Family understands about 90% of what child says
  • Verbs emerge quickly
  • Understands and responds to questions dealing with immediate environment
  • Tells about his experiences
  • Can answer thinking questions, such as "What do you want when you're thirsty?"
  • Gives name, age and gender
  • Understands much more than she expresses

4 years

  • Knows names of animals
  • Uses at least four prepositions (in, on, under, out)
  • Knows some colors
  • Can repeat four digits when given slowly
  • Can repeat a four-syllable word
  • Knows contrasts such as larger and longer
  • Follows directions when desired object is not in sight
  • Repeats many words, phrases, syllables and sounds
  • Loves make-believe and takes on multiple roles during play
  • Talks extensively during play by himself or with others

5 years

  • Uses adjectives and adverbs extensively in conversation
  • Knows opposites such as on/off, big/little, heavy/light and hard/soft
  • Counts to at least 10
  • All speech should be intelligible, but articulation errors may still persist
  • Can repeat sentences as long as nine words
  • Can define common nouns such as shoe, chair, hat and bird