What Milestones Should Parents Be Looking for in Children?

The word “milestone” is defined as an important event that marks a significant stage in development. While every child develops at their own pace, there are basic things to watch for as your child grows. Here are the milestones you should be looking for:

From birth to six months of age:

Rapid growth takes place during the first six months of a child’s life. Not only are their bodies growing at a phenomenally fast rate, their brains are growing as well. According to this article, “After just 12 months, your baby’s brain will double in size—at no other time will so many neuronal connections be made.”

Because of these connections, there are several milestones you can look for from birth to six months:


  • Facial recognition/tracking
  • Smiling and showing emotion
  • Self-soothing such as thumb sucking 
  • Cooing, babbling
  • Holding their head up
  • Rolling over 
  • Reaching for things
  • Pushing themselves up to their elbows
  • Sitting up with support

From six months to one year of age:


Around the six month mark, most children are interested in exploring things beyond the confines of one particular spot. Not only do they become more mobile, they are alert and aware of their surroundings. 

Here are a few key milestones to look for from six months to one year:


  • Making sounds and forming first words such as “mama” or “dada”
  • Pointing at specific things around the room
  • Playing patty-cake or peek-a-boo
  • Picking up small pieces (such as Cheerios) between their index finger and thumb
  • Sitting up without support
  • Crawling
  • Standing with or without assistance 
  • Moving along furniture
  • Taking first steps, especially as their first birthday approaches

From one year to two years of age:


And so the fun begins! Your baby has now reached toddlerhood and is really starting to engage with the world around them. Between the ages of one and two many key milestones are reached. Here’s what to look for:

  • Repeating words/increasing their vocabulary to 50 words or more
  • Helping parents dress them by raising their arms and legs
  • Responding to simple requests such as “throw the ball”
  • Pointing to the correct image when they hear the word (such as dog or cat)
  • Recognizing everyday objects (such as spoon or shoe)
  • Scribbling on paper
  • Learning to climb steps
  • Eating and drinking independently as their second birthday approaches

From two years to three years of age:

Signs of independence will emerge during this age and stage as your child’s motor skills and cognitive skills increase.

Here are the milestones to look for from ages two to three:


  • Repeating phrases 
  • Displaying more independence (and defiance)
  • Pointing to specific pictures or objects when the word is heard
  • Knowing basic body parts such as eyes, nose, mouth, and ears
  • Sorting basic shapes or colors
  • Stacking blocks
  • Standing on tiptoes
  • Running and jumping
  • Kicking a ball
  • Walking up and down the stairs
  • Drawing lines and circles

From four years to five years of age:


It’s exciting to see the developments in your children as you watch them grow from infant to toddler. As they approach school age, you’ll be surprised at how much they learn and develop

Here are the milestones to look for from ages four to five:


  • Becoming more social/enjoying other children
  • Singing simple songs and rhymes
  • Telling stories
  • Playing make-believe
  • Saying their first and last name
  • Counting to ten or higher
  • Recognizing a wider variety of shapes and colors
  • Identifying things that are the same/different
  • Hopping and standing on one foot
  • Bouncing and catching a ball

As parents and as childcare providers, each milestone is exciting and opens doors to new opportunities for children to explore and develop. At Children’s Discovery Center, we consider it a great honor to walk through many seasons of growth and development with the children we care for and we enjoy assisting families every step of the way.