The treatment in the "Language" sections in this article deals specifically with a child's acquisition of the English language and does not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (August 2010)
This article puts forward a general model based on the most widely accepted developmental stages. However, it is important to understand that there is wide variation in terms of what is considered "normal," driven by a wide variety of genetic, cognitive, physical, family, cultural, nutritional, educational, and environmental factors. Many children will reach some or most of these milestones at different times from the norm. Kids grow up and develop at different rates.
Swallowing reflex and tongue movements are immature; inability to move food to the back of the mouth.
Landau reflex appears near the middle of this period; when baby is held in a prone (face down) position, the head is held upright and legs are fully extended.
Grasps with entire hand; strength insufficient to hold items. Holds hands in an open or semi-open position.
Movements are large and jerky.
Raises head and upper body on arms when in a prone position.
Turns head side to side when in a supine (face up) position;can not hold head up and line with the body.
Upper body parts are more active: clasps hands above face, waves arms about, reaches for objects.
Head and chest circumferences are basically equal.
Head circumference increases approximately 1 cm per month until six to seven months, then 0.5 cm per month; head circumference should continue to increase steadily, indicating healthy, ongoing brain growth.
Posterior fontanelle closing or fully closed.
Breathing is abdominal; respiration rate depending on activity; rate and patterns vary from infant to infant.
Teeth may begin to appear, with upper and lower incisors coming in first. Gums may become red and swollen, accompanied by increased drooling, chewing, biting, and mouthing of objects.
Legs may appear bowed; bowing gradually disappears as infant grows older.
Fat rolls ("Baby Fat") appear on thighs, upper arms and neck.
Demonstrates understanding of functional relationships (objects that belong together): Puts spoon in bowl and then uses spoon as if eating; places teacup on saucer and sips from cup; tries to make doll stand up.
Shows or offers toy to another person to look at.
Names many everyday objects.
Shows increasing understanding of spatial and form discrimination: puts all pegs in a pegboard; places three geometric shapes in large formboard or puzzle.
Places several small items (blocks, clothespins, cereal pieces) in a container or bottle and then dumps them out.
Tries to make mechanical objects work after watching someone else do so.
Most children with autism are diagnosed at this age.
Produces considerable "jargon": puts words and sounds together into speech-like (inflected) patterns.
Holophrastic speech: uses one word to convey an entire thought; meaning depends on the inflection ("me" may be used to request more cookies or a desire to feed self). Later; produces two-word phrases to express a complete thought (telegraphic speech): "More cookie," "Daddy bye-bye."
Follows simple directions, "Give Daddy the cup."
When asked, will point to familiar persons, animals, and toys.
Identifies three body parts if someone names them: "Show me your nose (toe, ear)."
Indicates a few desired objects and activities by name: "Bye-bye," "cookie"; verbal request is often accompanied by an insistent gesture.
Responds to simple questions with "yes" or "no" and appropriate head movement.
Speech is 25 to 50 percent intelligible during this period.
Locates familiar objects on request (if child knows location of objects).
Acquires and uses five to fifty words; typically these are words that refer to animals, food, and toys.
Uses gestures, such as pointing or pulling, to direct adult attention.
Enjoys rhymes and songs; tries to join in.
Seems aware of reciprocal (back and forth) aspects of conversational exchanges; some turn-taking in other kinds of vocal exchanges, such as making and imitating sounds.
Less wary of strangers.
Helps pick up and put away toys.
Enjoys being held and read to.
Often imitates adult actions in play.
Enjoys adult attention; likes to know that an adult is near; gives hugs and kisses.
Recognizes self in mirror.
Enjoys the companionship of other children, but does not play cooperatively.
Begins to assert independence; often refuses to cooperate with daily routines that once were enjoyable; resists getting dressed, putting on shoes, eating, taking a bath; wants to try doing things without help.
May have a tantrum when things go wrong or if overly tired or frustrated.
Exceedingly curious about people and surroundings; needs to be watched carefully to prevent them from getting into unsafe situations.
Posture is more erect; abdomen still large and protruding, back swayed, because abdominal muscles are not yet fully developed.
Respirations are slow and regular
Body temperature continues to fluctuate with activity, emotional state, and environment.
Brain reaches about 80 percent of its adult size.
16 baby teeth almost finished growing out
Can walk around obstacles and walk more erect
Squats for long periods while playing.
Climbs stairs unassisted (but not with alternating feet).
Balances on one foot (for a few moments), jumps up and down, but may fall.
Often achieves toilet training during this year (depending on child's physical and neurological development) although accidents should still be expected; the child will indicate readiness for toilet training.
Throws large ball underhand without losing balance. Holds small cup or tumbler in one hand. Unbuttons large buttons; unzips large zippers.
Opens doors by turning doorknobs.
Grasps large crayon with fist; scribbles.
Climbs up on chair, turns, and sits down.
Stacks four to six objects on top of one another.
Uses feet to propel wheeled riding toys.
Eye–hand movements better coordinated; can put objects together, take them apart; fit large pegs into pegboard.
Begins to use objects for purposes other than intended (may push a block around as a boat).
Does simple classification tasks based on single dimension (separates toy dinosaurs from toy cars).
Seems fascinated by, or engrossed in, figuring out situations: where the tennis ball rolled, where the dog went, what caused a particular noise.
Attends to self-selected activities for longer periods of time. Discovering cause and effect: squeezing the cat makes her scratch.
Expected to use "magical thinking", such as believing a toy bear is a real bear.
Tells about objects and events not immediately present (this is both a cognitive and linguistic advance).
Expresses more curiosity about the world.
Enjoys participating while being read to.
Realizes language is effective for getting desired responses.
Uses fifty to three-hundred words; vocabulary continuously increasing.
Has broken the linguistic code; in other words, much of a two-year-old's talk has meaning to him or her.
Receptive language is more developed than expressive language; most two-year olds understand significantly more than they can talk about.
Utters three- and four-word statements; uses conventional word order to form more complete sentences.
Refers to self as "me" or sometimes "I" rather than by name: "Me go bye-bye"; has no trouble verbalizing "mine."
Expresses negative statements by tacking on a negative word such as "no" or "not": "Not more milk."
Uses some plurals.
Some stammering and other dysfluencies are common.
Speech is as much as 65 to 70 percent intelligible.
Is able to verbalize needs.
Asks a lot of questions.
Social and emotional
Shows signs of empathy and caring: comforts another child if hurt or frightened; appears to sometimes be overly affectionate in offering hugs and kisses to children
Continues to use physical aggression if frustrated or angry (for some children, this is more exaggerated than for others); Physical aggression usually lessens as verbal skills improve.
Temper tantrums likely to peak during this year; extremely difficult to reason with during a tantrum.
Impatient; finds it difficult to wait or take turns.
Enjoys "helping" with household chores; imitates everyday activities: may try to toilet train a stuffed animal, feed a doll.
"Bossy" with parents and caregivers; orders them around, makes demands, expects immediate compliance from adults.
Watches and imitates the play of other children, but seldom interacts directly; plays near others, often choosing similar toys and activities (parallel play); solitary play is often simple and repetitive.
Offers toys to other children, but is usually possessive of playthings; still tends to hoard toys.
Making choices is difficult; wants it both ways.
Often defiant; shouting "no" becomes automatic.
Ritualistic; wants everything "just so"; routines carried out exactly as before; belongings placed "where they belong."
Growth is steady though slower than in first two years.
Adult height can be predicted from measurements of height at three years of age; males are approximately 53% of their adult height and females, 57%.
Legs grow faster than arms,
Circumference of head and chest is equal; head size is in better proportion to the body.
^Parten, M. (1932). "Social participation among pre-school children". The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology27 (3): 243. doi:10.1037/h0074524.
^Ruben, K. H., Fein, G. G., & Vandenberg, B. (1983). "Play", pp. 693–744 in E. M. Hetherington (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 4. Socialization, personality, and social development (4th ed.). New York: Wiley, ISBN 0471090654.