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Birth to Three:
Developmental Checklist

1 Month

  • Lifts head up briefly when on belly
  • Moves arms and legs in energetic manner
  • Reacts to sudden movement or noises
  • Communicates with smiles, gaze, and crying
  • Avoids mildly annoying sensations (placement of cloth on face)
  • Focuses on a rattle in her line of vision
  • Makes some sounds such as (ah, uh)

2 Months

  • Beginning to coo or gurgle
  • Follows moving object with eyes (head stationary)
  • Smiles at mom or dad when they smile
  • Looks at mom or dad’s face when they talk
  • Head is erect and bobbing
  • Rolls part way to side when lying on

3 Months

  • Turns head and follows a moving object with eyes
  • Grasps objects when placed in his hand
  • Crying is different for pain, hunger, etc.
  • Swats at dangling objects
  • Searches for sound with eyes
  • Beginning to babble
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes to your baby. Babies are calmed by a steady soft rhythm.
  • Place patterned designs and faces drawn in black and white in front of baby to stimulate visual development.

4 Months

  • Lifts head and chest while lying on stomach
  • Rolls from side to side
  • Laughs aloud
  • Turns head toward sounds such as a bell, voice, music
  • Good head control
  • Plays with fingers, hands, and toes

5 Months

  • Reaches for and holds objects
  • Stands firmly when held
  • Babbling increases- uses a variety of sounds (squeals, grunts, etc.)
  • Likes to play peek-a-boo
  • Pats and smiles at image in mirror
  • Stretches out arms to be picked up
  • Responds to tones of voice

6 Months

  • Sits with assistance or may sit alone
  • Reaches for and grasps toy with one hand
  • Rolls from back to stomach, and stomach to back
  • Holds, sucks, bites cookie or cracker- begins chewing
  • Transfers object from hand to mouth
  • Babbles- makes sounds like "baba, gugu, didi"
  • Turns head toward sounds or to an adult when they are talking to her
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Establish routines by dimming the light at naptime, reading a story or singing a lullaby before bedtime.
  • Hold your baby as you are feeding her. Feeding time provides a bonding opportunity. Rock, smile at, and talk, so she feels love and security.

7 Months

  • Can transfer object from one hand to the other hand
  • Can sit for a few minutes without support
  • Creeps (pulling body with arms and leg kicks)
  • Is shy at first with strangers
  • Reaches for bright or sound producing familiar object

8 Months

  • Can sit steadily for about five minutes
  • Crawls (on hands and knees)
  • Grasps things with thumb and first two fingers
  • Likes to be near parents
  • Responds to "No" by stopping activity

9 Months

  • Responds to name
  • Can stand for a short time holding onto support
  • Copies sounds, repeats words
  • Begins to play simple games
  • Hits two objects together
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Provide a safe area with furniture that is appropriate for your child to practice pulling self to an upright position.
  • Give your baby blocks for stacking and other toys for grasping and holding. Items should be at least 1 ½ to 2 inches wide.
  • Play music for listening and movement.
  • Play peek-a-boo, clap hands, and help your baby play with his/her toys.

10 Months

  • Able to pull self up at side of crib or play pen
  • Can drink from a cup when it is held
  • Releases object
  • Shows affection and love

11 Months

  • Can walk holding onto furniture or sides of crib or playpen
  • Can find an object placed under another object
  • Holds object and examines it with hands and/or eyes
  • Copies sounds such as clicking and coughing and words such as "Mama" and "Dada"

12 Months

  • Waves bye-bye
  • Can walk with one hand held
  • Says a few more words besides "Mama" and "Dada"
  • Finger feeds self. Enjoys some solid foods
  • Likes to have an audience
  • Gives toys on request
  • Follows two to three word directions accompanied by gestures
  • Jabbering
  • Responds to music by moving body to the rhythm of music
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Provide stacking toys such as blocks, nesting rings, or cups
  • Provide busy boxes and toys to push or pull
  • Provide wheeled toys without pedals
  • Provide opportunities for your child to experience new finger foods and drink from a cup

15 Months

  • Shows wants by pointing and gestures
  • Scribbles on paper after shown
  • Enjoys throwing, rolling, pushing, pulling toys
  • Likes to feed self
  • Looks to parent for help in solving problems
  • Looks for hidden objects in last place seen
  • Climbs stairs with assistance

18 Months

  • Takes things apart
  • Drinks from a cup held in both hands
  • Likes to help a parent
  • May use 5-10 words
  • Runs stiffly, with eyes on the ground
  • Laughs at silly actions (as wearing a bowl as a hat)
  • Identify an object in a picture book

24-30 Months

  • Able to run
  • Walks up/down stairs using alternate feet
  • Takes steps backwards
  • Says at least 50 words
  • Sometimes uses 2-3 word sentences- such as "more juice"
  • Kicks/throws large ball
  • Imitates housework
  • May show some interest in using the toilet
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Teach your child how to go up and down stairs safely, how to jump, and walk on tiptoe.
  • Encourage your child to assist in dressing herself. Talk about the items of clothing and what she is doing as she is getting dressed.

30-36 Months

  • Dresses self except for buttoning
  • Jumps lifting both feet off the ground
  • Rides Tricycle
  • Turns doorknob and faucets
  • Knows difference between "Big" and "Little"
  • Knows whether he or she is a boy or girl
  • Naps start to disappear (may not nap every day)
  • Plays more often with other children; shares, tells stories, likes to play dress-up and pretend
  • Walks upstairs (one foot on a step); begins to balance on one foot
  • Puts shoes on (no lacing); begins to copy simple shapes; cuts with scissors; brushes teeth with some help
  • Says rhymes and jingles from TV and from stories
  • Asks questions: "What’s that?" or "Where’s Daddy?"
  • Can count to five
  • Washes and dries hands by himself and uses the toilet (may still require some help)
Things You Can Do With Your Child
  • Give your child one-step directions such as "Please put your blocks in the toy box."
  • Provide props, so your child can engage in pretend play. Blankets make great forts. Large boxes work well for playing house, store or office.

South Dakota Birth to Three

If you have questions, or would like to schedule screening, contact the South Dakota Department of Education, South Dakota Birth to Three, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501. (605) 773-3678 or 800-305-3064.