CDC Milestone Category


Milestone Name Expected Age
Begins to smile at people 2
Can briefly calm himself (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand) 2
Tries to look at parent 2
Smiles spontaneously, especially at people 4
Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops 4
Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning 4
Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger 6
Likes to play with others, especially parents 6
Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy 6
Likes to look at self in a mirror 6
May be afraid of strangers 9
May be clingy with familiar adults 9
Has favorite toys 9
Is shy or nervous with strangers 12
Cries when mom or dad leaves 12
Has favorite things and people 12
Shows fear in some situations 12
Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story 12
Repeats sounds or actions to get attention 12
Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing 12
Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake” 12
Likes to hand things to others as play 18
May have temper tantrums 18
May be afraid of strangers 18
Shows affection to familiar people 18
Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll 18
May cling to caregivers in new situations 18
Points to show others something interesting 18
Explores alone but with parent close by 18
Copies others, especially adults and older children 24
Gets excited when with other children 24
Shows more and more independence 24
Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to) 24
Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games 24
Copies adults and friends 36
Shows affection for friends without prompting 36
Takes turns in games 36
Shows concern for crying friend 36
Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers” 36
Shows a wide range of emotions 36
Separates easily from mom and dad 36
May get upset with major changes in routine 36
Dresses and undresses self 36
Enjoys doing new things 48
Plays “Mom” and “Dad” 48
Is more and more creative with make-believe play 48
Would rather play with other children than by himself 48
Cooperates with other children 48
Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe 48
Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in 48
Wants to please friends 60
Wants to be like friends 60
More likely to agree with rules 60
Likes to sing, dance, and act 60
Shows concern and sympathy for others 60
Is aware of gender 60
Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe 60
Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed]) 60
Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative 60