From the Ministry of Children, community and social services:
By 6 months, your baby
- turns to source of sounds
- startles in response to sudden, loud noises
- makes different cries for different needs - I'm hungry, I'm tired
- watches your face as you talk
- smiles and laughs in response to your smiles and laughs
- imitates coughs or other sounds - ah, eh, buh
By 9 months, your baby
- responds to his name
- responds to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door
- understands being told "no"
- gets what she wants through gestures, e.g. reaching to be picked up
- plays social games with you, e.g. peek-a-boo
- enjoys being around people
- babbles and repeats sounds - babababa duhduhduh
By 12 months, your baby
- follows simple one-step directions - "sit down"
- looks across the room to something you point to
- consistently uses three to five words
- uses gestures to communicate - waves "bye bye", shakes head "no"
- gets your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes
- brings you toys to show you
- "performs" for attention and praise
- combines lots of sounds as though talking - abada baduh abee
- shows interest in simple picture books
By 18 months, your toddler
- understands the concepts of "in and out", "off and on"
- points to several body parts when asked
- uses at least 20 words consistently
- responds with words or gestures to simple questions:
- Where's teddy?
- What's that?
- Demonstrates some pretend play with toys:
- gives teddy a drink
- pretends a bowl is a hat
- makes at least four different consonant sounds - b, n, d, g, w, h
- enjoys being read to and looking at simple books with you
- points to pictures using one finger
By 24 months, your toddler
- follows two-step directions -
- Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.
- Uses 100 words or more
- uses at least two pronouns - "you", "me", "mine"
- consistently combines two to four words in short phrases - "daddy hat", "truck go down"
- enjoys being with other children
- begins to offer toys to peers and imitates other children's actions and words
- people can understand your child's words 50 to 60 per cent of the time
- forms words and sounds easily and effortlessly
- holds books the right way up and turns pages
- "reads" to stuffed animals or toys
- scribbles with crayons
By 30 months, your toddler
- understands the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little, a lot, more)
- uses some adult grammar - "two cookies", "bird flying", "I jumped"
- uses more than 350 words
- uses action words - run, spill, fall
- begins taking short turns with other children, using both toys and words
- shows concern when another child is hurt or sad
- combines several actions in play - feeds doll then puts her to sleep; puts blocks in train then drives train and drops blocks off
- puts sounds at the start of most words
- produces words with two or more syllables or beats - "ba-na-na", "com-pu-ter", "a-pple"
- recognizes familiar logos and signs - McDonalds golden arches, stop sign
- remembers and understands familiar stories
By age 3, your child
- understands "who", "what", "where" and "why" questions
- creates long sentences, using 5 to 8 words
- talks about past events - trip to grandparents' house, day at childcare
- tells simple stories
- shows affection for favourite playmates
- engages in multi-step pretend play - cooking a meal, repairing a car
- is understood by most people outside of the family, most of the time
- is aware of the function of print - in menus, lists, signs
- has a beginning interest in, and awareness of, rhyming
By age 4, your child
- follows some directions involving 3 or more steps -
- First get some paper, then draw a picture, last give it to mom.
- uses adult-type grammar
- tells stories with a clear beginning, middle and end
- talks to try to solve problems with adults and other children
- demonstrates increasingly complex imaginative play
- is understood by strangers almost all of the time
- is able to generate simple rhymes - "cat-bat"
- matches some letters with their sounds - "letter T says tuh"