Every baby develops at a slightly different pace, but generally the sequence of development is similar. In the table below are basic milestones typical at different ages. Remember each child develops at a different pace, and individual babies may be advanced in a certain area, e.g, grabbing and mouthing, yet a bit slower in other areas e.g. sitting/crawling. If your child is lagging behind significantly please consult the paediatrician: the sooner delays are picked up, the quicker we can intervene to find a diagnosis and treatment.

Some tips on development:

  • Appropriate stimulation and gentle encouragement in a loving environment are so important from a young age, yet at all ages “overstimulation” and over-expectation can do more trouble than good.
  • Celebrate and enjoy the milestones, rather than feeling pressured that your child should be reaching them. With my first child I was so anxious for him to reach each milestone that it felt like a box-ticking exercise! By the time I got to my last child, I had so few expectations that each milestone felt like a wonderful miracle! This was way more enjoyable than feeling the pressure!
  • Try not to compare your child too much with other children. Each child is different and develops at a slightly different pace and may have different “strengths” coming through at different ages. Remember- as long as they are not outside of the normal scope- the timing of reaching early developmental milestones will not be an indication of their future academic  or sporting prowess!
  • A child may seem to “stagnate” in their development every now and again- but often this is followed by a major “leap” in development,. Therefore, do not stress too quickly if development has stood still for a while- the little brain is busy planning great advances! Also, a time of irritability and sleep disruption may accompany rapid development.
  • If you do suspect an issue, please discuss this with your baby clinic professional or doctor immediately in case intervention is needed.  

Developmental milestones : 0 months – 12 months

AgeGross Motor SkillsFine Motor SkillsHearing and Language DevelopmentVisual DevelopmentPersonal/Social
BirthVery little head controlHands are closed and grasp reflex presentStartles to loud noises
  • Eyes close in response to bright light
  • Best distance of vision is about 30 cm away
  • Black and white vision
6 weeksModerate amount of head control
  • Can make tight fists
  • Places hands in mouth
  • Responds to sounds by calming, startling or crying
  • Starts making cooing sounds
May follow slow moving objects through 90 degreesBegins to smile in response to familiar face or voice
3 months
  • Very little head lag
  • Can lift upper body and head when lying on tummy
  • Leg kicking and stretching
  • Standing reflex develops (pushes down on a surface with legs when held up)
  • Hands held loosely
  • Inspects hands and grasps objects that are place within hands
  • Can bring hands together
  • Recognises and responds to parents
  • Coos and gurgles
  • Blows bubbles
Follows objects moving up to 180 degrees in the field of vision
  • Smiles spontaneously
  • Develops facial expressions to show basic emotions
  • Recognises mother’s face and scent
6 months
  • Supports head well
  • Can support upper body with hands when lying on stomach
  • Sits with support
  • Can roll over
  • Reaches for and grasps objects
  • Places objects in mouth
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand
  • Responds vocally when spoken to
  • Uses sounds such as squealing or laughter to express emotions
  • Uses repetitive monosyllabic sounds like bababa
Can move eyes in all directionsRecognises toys
9 months
  • Sits without support
  • Crawls on stomach and then on hands and knees
  • Starts to pull body into a standing position
  • Can pick up, shake and drop small objects
  • Grasps food and places in mouth
  • Holds a bottle
  • Begins to point
Starts imitating sounds
  • Stranger anxiety – Knows and trusts a limited number of caregivers
  • Recognises own name
12 months
  • Cruises around furniture
  • Starts to walk (walking may take up to 18 months)
  • Begins to throw objects
  • Good pincer grip
  • Holds 2 objects and bangs together
  • Still mouths a lot
  • Speaks 2-3 words
  • Makes sounds at toys
Picks up tiny things from the ground
  • Searches for hidden or fallen toys (Object permanence)
  • Waves goodbye
  • Points
  • Shakes head
Development Milestones : 0 – 12 months

Developmental milestones : 15 months – 36 months

AgeGross Motor SkillsFine Motor SkillsLanguageVisual DevelopmentPersonal/Social
15 months
  • Walks steadily
  • Starts to climb
Stacks 2- 3 blocksSpeaks 3-4 words
  • Has temper tantrums when frustrated
  • Becomes attached to a soft toy or other object
18 months
  • Walks steadily
  • Runs
  • Throws ball underhand
  • Kicks
  • Scribbles
  • Stacks 3-4 blocks
  • Speaks 6-8 words
  • May have some 2 word phrases
  • As above
  • Starts to use fork and spoon
  • “Reads” picture books on his own
24 months
  • Runs
  • Jumps with 2 feet
  • Walks down stairs one foot at a time
  • stacks 6 blocks
  • Scribbles
  • May still use both left and right hands to draw
  • Names at least 6 body parts
  • Uses 2-3 word sentences
  • Half of speech understandable
  • Starts to learn some colours
Adult visual acuity
  • Asks “why?”
  • Begins to show interest in playing with other children but finds it difficult to share. Play is often in parallel
  • Helps with dressing
  • Uses fork and spoon
30 months
  • Jumps easily
  • Balances on one foot for a few seconds
  • Walks down stairs with alternating legs
  • Draws vertical line and circle
  • Pencil grip starts to develop
  • Handedness becomes evidence
  • Able to name some colours and shapes
  • 2-4 word sentences
  • Able to recite name
  • Able to brush teeth with assistance
  • Washes and dries own hands
36 months
  • Hops on one leg
  • Rides a tricycle
  • Copies a circle
  • Shows definite handedness
  • 3-4 word sentences
  • Able to follow 2-3 word commands
  • Starts to play with other children
  • Can name a friend
  • Able to help with dressing
Development Milestones : 15 – 36 months