Developmental milestones are physical or behavioral markers in children that signal how they are developing compared to their peers. The ability to recognize familiar faces, reach for toys, and smile are all examples of milestones that occur during infancy. Each age range has its own set of appropriate milestones. Here are the developmental milestones that parents of toddlers should know.

Toddler Milestones Parents Should Know

By age 1

By this time, toddlers should be able to stand on their own, take a few steps, understand a few words, and perhaps say a few words, as well. One-year-olds are also able to point to things and hand objects to others. Parents should notify their pediatrician if their toddler isn’t able to mimic others, is unable to learn new words, or shows regression in any of their milestones.

By age 2

Toddlers at this age are not only walking with confidence, but running, jumping, climbing, and talking, as well. They should be able to name body parts, understand simple commands, scribble with crayons, and group objects by color or shape. Cognitively, two-year-olds are far more curious and independent than they were in previous stages. Some red flags to watch out for are the failure to follow simple commands, unsteady or unconfident walking, and the inability to use common household objects.

By age 3

At three, children are able to communicate with full sentences, ask questions, speak in the past tense, and count a few numbers. They should also be able to feed themselves, pull on clothes, play with other children, and draw a line. Imaginative play develops around this age along with fears, such as fear of the dark or monsters under the bed.

When to be Concerned

Every child develops at his or her own pace, so developmental milestones only serve as a general guideline. Some toddlers may reach some milestones late, some milestones early, or skip some entirely. But milestones are still important in case anything goes wrong in the child’s development.

Sometimes, failure to complete milestones can be a sign of a developmental disability, such as a hearing impairment. In these cases, tracking milestones can signal to the parent that something might be wrong, allowing them to intervene early.