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Typical Toddler Development

Babies develop at their own pace, but these milestones will give you an idea of the skills your child should begin to show.

Two babiesAlso see Early Warning Signs

At 9 months

  • Smiles and laughs while looking at you
  • Turn to sounds they hear
  • Reach for toys or other items they want
  • Make vocalizations to get your attention or help


At 12 months

Baby standing
  • Respond to their name
  • Understand simple directions with gestures
  • Use gestures like giving, pointing, and showing 
  • Use sounds and maybe a few words
  • Play social games like peek-a-boo
  • Respond to “no”
  • Try to imitate sounds and gestures
  • Show you things that interest them


At 18 months

Girl with phone

  • Use at least 10 words
  • Make more than 5 different consonant sounds
  • Imitate words they hear 
  • Identify body parts when named
  • Does early pretend play actions like feeding dolls or stuffed animals


At 24 months

  • Use at least 50 words
  • Say simple sentences like "daddy go work" and "what’s that?"  Toddler
  • Put many pretend play actions together
  • Recognize pictures in books and listen to simple stories
  • Are more excited about the company of other children
  • Begin to sort by shapes and colors
  • Follow simple instructions
  • Imitate behavior of others, especially adults and older children


Boy with bubbles

At 36 months

  • Express affection openly
  • Follow a two- or three- part command
  • Understand most sentences
  • Use 4- to 5- word sentences
  • Can take turns in games