Parents and therapists alike often look for a developmental checklist. Having a list of developmental milestones in physical development, emotional, and social development would be handy, right? A printable resource that acts as a guideline to child development could be useful for parents to track the milestones of their child for the first two years of life. A pediatric developmental checklist can help to identify red flags or to reference a child’s growth and development.
Today, I wanted to share developmental checklists that are available here on The OT Toolbox, so you can have a one-stop spot for understanding growth and development stages in children.
Be sure to read this resource on toddlerhood for specifics on birth-3.
These blog posts listed below were created to serve as a guideline, and reference, for parents to track the milestones of their child for the first two years of life. Ideally, this milestone resources will be helpful to identify developmental progression in order to guide the conversation with your child’s provider in reference to their growth and development, and to any concerns which become apparent.
It is important to note that all children develop at their own pace; however, the guidelines provided in this book are the accepted steps in development by doctors, service providers and educators alike.
For ease of use, these childhood development milestones are broken down by the general developmental month span utilized in the medical community (i.e. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc.). This book covers the following:
- Speech/language milestones
- Feeding milestones
- Fine motor milestones
- Gross motor milestones
- Activities to address each of the above
- Red flags to look for in each range
- Pre-K readiness checklist
- Kindergarten readiness checklist
- Potty training tips
- Expected stages of play
- Pre-writing progression
- Resources (websites and podcasts)
In addition, many of these milestone resources provide printable checklists for increased ease in filing and long term record keeping for each of your children, as well as the ability for your child’s provider to make copies of, and keep the information for their own files.
Childhood developmental milestones
It is important to note that all children develop at their own pace; however, there are a set of developmental guidelines that are accepted steps in development by doctors, service providers and educators alike.
Here are developmental milestone lists that we have here on The OT Toolbox. Use these to better identify any developmental concerns:
Social Emotional Skills Developmental Milestones
Visual Motor Integration Developmental Milestones
Spatial Awareness Development in Babies
Foster Development with Block Play
Development of Oral Motor Skills
Development of Eye-Hand Coordination
Development of bilateral coordination and how this skill impacts feeding
Executive Functioning Skill development
Boost child development with rhyming games
Developmental progression of pre-writing lines
Developmental Milestones in Kids Getting Dressed
Knowing all of this information on typical child development, it would be very handy to have a complete checklist of aspects of developmental progression from birth to two years.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
128 thoughts on “Developmental Checklist”
Great resources! I often reference some of these in my own practice as an OT.
I wonder if there are any trends in milestones among Autistic children. For instance, is there a trend that children with ASD tend to develop hand dominance around X age?
I’m a granny of a 22month old (corrected age) girly. She doesnt speak as clearly as her mom did at this age…So just wondering. I’m also a teacher. I have taught 7 to 8 year olds for the past 19 years and I find many little things lacking. I’d like to, subtly, play a deficit or 2 away while my granddaughter is still little. A prevention is better than cure idea.
Expecting my first so having a skills list is helpful for first time moms.
If a child does not meet a milestone do you immediately get help or wait if they are close to meeting?
What would be the most appropriate time to have further testing done if the child does not meet the age appropriate milestones?
As an OT and now mom of 2, many of my friends are now also having children. Sometimes, my friends are coming to me for reassurance of their child’s developmental progression. This will be nice to also give to some of my fellow parent friends whose children are not meeting the milestones, and may need support from Early Intervention.
This looks like a great resource! I feel like there are so many different sources with slightly different milestones. I am wondering what everyone feels is the most reliable source for developmental milestones and when to seek services if a child has not met the milestones?
Wow this seems like a great resource! As an OT student I have seen some variation in resources regarding development. Are there any specific resources, outside of the one above, that you find especially useful for looking at developmental milestones?
Hello. I’m an OT and had a mom with a premie ask if it’s normal for premie babies to be behind in milestones after we stop adjusting for age at 2. I told her most babies catch up by 2, but we could evaluate her child and see where they are at. This tool would also be a great resource for me in my practice.
Thank you for the resources, as always! Regarding developmental milestones; I’ve had 2 families recently advocating for their child to be ambidextrous as I’ve gotten them around the age that they should have a dominant hand emerging. I’ve educated these families on the purpose/benefits/reasoning for developing a dominant hand. My question re: developmental milestones is – is it “okay” to promote ambidextrous hand use if it’s family’s request for the child; or, is it best practice to continue to facilitate hand dominance?
This looks very helpful for practitioners and families alike. My developmental milestone questions is- are there any guidelines that help identify progression or anticipated stages of children with special needs, esp ASD? I know we can usually identify which developmental versus chronological stage they are currently at, but I feel like alot of times there is some discrepancy in anticipated levels they should be expected to meet. Thank you!
This resource would be very useful! I work with kids with severe developmental delays so sometimes it’s hard to remember what “typical” development looks like.
Are there any resources on developmental milestones for children with common diagnoses like ASD or Down’s Syndrome?
I’m curious as to how much of an impact screen time at such young ages is impacting typical development.
I’m a newly graduated OT working in school-based and early intervention therapy. I would love to learn more about developmental trends in order to improve my EI knowledge. I wonder what physical developmental milestones look like for a child who is having speech delays. Having a resource such as this one would help me draw these comparisons and determine appropriate goals/treatment activities.
What are typical milestone delays to look for early on with children with ASD? Thanks for the resources!
What are the typical visual milestones?
As a recent OT graduate it’s tools like this that I find especially helpful to reference and serve as a reliable and organized guide in practice as well as offer parents a resource that encourages them to take an active role in their child’s development. Would love to utilize this Developmental Checklist!
Would you recommend incorporating this checklist as an additional tool in an initial evaluation?
What a great resource!!
My question is: which milestones are more foundational than others? In other words, I know that there are some milestones that can just be skipped, like you don’t HAVE to crawl to learn to walk, but there are others that are needed before the child can move forward. Is there anywhere where there are resources that show which milestones should really be developed before moving forward and which can be “skipped?”
As a soon to be new grad OT this would be amazing to have as I begin working in the field! I think one of the biggest questions I have is when do you decide that a child who has some delayed milestones is an issue vs letting them play out & see if the milestones happen on their own. I always wonder when is a reasonable time frame for a milestone to be considered delayed versus just a child having a slowed progression.
This would be a great resource. Parents often get a lot of information from many different resources some of which are not always the most reliable; such as Great Aunt Susie telling them what their child should be doing.This would be great to reference for them as a reliable source
Being that I am a new grad, this would be a great resource for me. I often get questions from friends and parents about milestones. One of the most common question is “At what point should I be concerned if my child is not meeting developmental milestones on time”. This can be a helpful resource to both practitioners and parents in addressing these concerns.
What a useful resource!
I wonder if there is a link between certain developmental milestones and some of the more hidden SEN ?
Visual tracking milestones
I am an early intervention occupational therapist, and this resource will be very helpful to screen, come up with goals, and explain to parents. I would like to know milestones in the areas of fine motor and feeding skills for more details. Hope I get to win the giveaway prizs!
Looks like a great resource. I am an COTA and work in early intervention! I’m always trying to expand my knowledge as an OTA and mommy of a 2year old girl!
A question think about a lot and often get from parents is in regards to hand dominance and fine motor skills – is there a downside to allowing a child to hold writing implements with one hand while completing prewriting/writing activities and manipulate scissors with the OTHER hand during cutting tasks? Should I/parents be correcting the child so that the same hand is being using during both writing and cutting activities?
Such a great resource! I will definetly start utilizing right away! I am wondering if those kiddos that receive a diagnosis early on have a modified developmental milestone guide?
I’m starting back into pediatric therapy and this would come in handy to carry around when visiting families so that if I draw a blank, I’ll have an easy resource to grab. Over time, the milestones become the back of your hand, but can be a bit overwhelming when getting back into peds.
Developmental norms for social interactions and for speech
This looks like a wonderful resource! I am wondering what the most accurate sources of developmental milestones are and how they have been obtained (how often they are updated and what the normative population has been for each).
Delays occurs often, should parents wait one to two months to report to pediatrician their concerns?
I love this! One of the questions I consistently come back to in EI is “Could the delay be coming from any retained reflexes?”
The Milestones Checklist would be a great resource to share with parents in the rural area that I practice. My question- how much impact are modern day gadgets and technology having on delayed milestones? Even toddlers are playing with cell phones!
I often wonder now that most toys are digital and especially during quarantine how the impact of not having basic toys, puzzles, and crafts effects kids development. Is there evidence on how different types of preschool program effects development
At what point are children who are developing slower considered in need of extra support? Basically, what is the difference between developing slower through not meeting milestones right away and the need for additional therapies?
I’m in OTA school and feel as if I learned nothing about pediatrics. This would be a great tool to have especially since I want to go into pediatrics!
Hi! I always wonder about trends with milestones with certain disabilities such as autism or developmental disabilities. Do the milestones consistently change at with the disabilities.
When to see further assistance. My concerned kind of weren’t taken seriously, until my child started school. So speech and OT interventions started late.
What are the milestones in terms of ability to follow multi-step directions? For neurotypical and neurodiverse kiddos.
Questions about the development of attention–how long can we expecttoddlers and pre-schoolers to attend to adult led tasks-esp in daycare settings like circle.
I am a new grad looking to become a school based therapist! I am very curious about how trauma affects developmental milestones. I’m interested to see if each child’s development is as individual as their trauma is or if there are reoccurring themes in the development of children with trauma in general.
I wonder how I can better help kids meet grip milestones. I see sooo many kids with grips, 7 and 8 year olds with modified fisted grips.
How long after noticing a milestone delay should a parent seek evaluation/ services?
I am also asked frequently by parents about their child being ambidextrous when he/she has not established hand dominance by school age, even when I explain the importance of having a hand dominance. I know the overall likelihood of a child being ambidextrous is low. What is the best way to help educate parents about this important milestone for a child? I also tend to field a lot of questions from friends who have typical children about whether or not their child should be doing this skill or that. In fact, one friend let me know that her son’s 3K teacher at preschool expects her to practice writing his name every day and he should be able to write it by the end of the year. I feel like a do a LOT of educating about when children (whether typical or having a delay in an area) should be performing a particular skill/milestone.
What are visual developmental checklists or developmental resources to use to determine even settle differences or more visual/neuro connection differences to see how these then effect development of fine motor skills or further eye teaming skills in future?
This is looks awesome. I think it would be helpful to know which milestones build on each other. Also, what do you do when they skip an earlier milestone, but can do a more advanced skill (e.g. pincer grasp issues vs cutting)?
I would LOVE to see some research in our field regarding retained reflexes and developmental milestones. Looking for more info for best EBP!
Has any research been done to determine any milestones for children with ASD?
As an OT I love to reference a developmental milestone outline for parents to give them a guideline of what comes before in order to recognize where their child may be on his developmental journey.
This would be great reference, I questions about all the developmentally milestones.
Nice to have a one stop spot to review developmental norms
does a child with asd have an increase of stereotypical behaviors as theu grow up?
I am an OT looking to get into EI and also a soon to be first time Mom. This book would be a great resource to have for both the work and at home world. I hear a lot of questions now about “picky eaters” for children. What is the best way to address picky eating habits and is there a trend on when this starts happening in the early years?
What are some of the developmental milestones for one-year-olds?
As an OT I’m always looking at milestones from evaluation to treatment and goal setting. I was wondering if there are more developmental milestone norms for kids with Down Syndrome or other syndromes and diagnoses?
This looks great! As an OT and parent a resource like this for practitioners and parents is valuable! I have similar questions as some others in regards to developmental milestones expected of children who are neuro-unique and about how our technology use and changes in lifestyles has impacted “typical” developmental milestones.
My parents are always asking me what is normal, what signs they should be looking for, etc. This would be a valuable resource to have to assist in getting those questions answered! 🙂
With few enforced regulations for ECD centers, curriculums and required qualifications in South Africa, I find the teachers I have worked with to all have different ideas about what the children should be doing, at what age and how to teach it. While I base my lessons on what I learnt in my education degree and other certificates, I often doubt myself when a colllegue disagrees with what I’m doing or does it very differently. It would be good to have a reputable resource to guide all lessons.
Is there an adjusted developmental milestone range for children with various developmental disabilities? Is it fair to compare those children to typically developing children?
Toe walking – how typical is that?
My question is how long to work on retained reflexes and what to do if the child does not integrate the reflex.
I am always looking for resources to share with my families.
Love it! I often wonder about retained reflexes as well. I have never had a client on my caseload that demonstrates retained reflexes so I would love some insight. Also,
With children being exposed to technology like ipads or phones at such young ages, are some of the developmental milestones related to fine motor skills or attention outdated now? Are children on average now performing differently because of this early exposure?
Resources are always a premium to have with so many questions from unique caseloads
My question is what are the most important red flags in terms of which developmental milestones are not reached, that parents should seek additional services or specialists?
There is great variation in specific “times” of developmental milestones. I work with many kids with ASD, Down syndrome, and general developmental delays. Parents seem to fixate on these time/age based milestones wanting their children to be “normal”. My question is: are there any negative consequences to making milestones more of a spectrum or broader age range to reinforce more the developmental sequence instead of specific times?
I have questions about visual-motor and visual perceptual milestones.
My question relates to how to communicate to parents that each milestone is not necessarily a rigid set of rules one child must pass before moving onto the next. Understandably, a lot of parents worry about the development of their child, and I think it’s a great resources and starting point to start answering those questions.
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What are visual milestones in young ones?
This would be an awesome resource to have! How much past a milestone should one start to seek help?
How concerning is it if a child skips a milestone (such as skipping crawling and moving right to walking)?
What are typical developmental milestones for infants and toddlers related to eating/self-feeding?
Do you prefer to memorize the milestones or continually refer to charts and books such as this one?
I somtimes question how to determine the need for OT services when I think the reason for delayed milestones is due to lack of exposure at home. I’ve had multiple parents before not believe in academics before kindergarten and they carried that over to even ADLs and did everything for their child so they now have a diagnosis of developmental delay because of milestones they haven’t hit, but I do think its the lack of exposure
This isn’t as much of a question as it is a comment, but I just recently took my NBCOT board exam and passed!!! But what I did come across when studying was all the different resources for milestones and I did notice that they all varied, so I would love to have this book for an all in one milestone checklist!
What is the difference in development for children born prematurely?
I would love this resource to give parents clear answers!
It’s just great to have a quick reference at hand. It makes evaluation and report writing more efficient.
I am pretty good knowing the motor milestones but not so good in other areas. I think this would be a fantastic resource to share with parents who have questions about their child’s development.
My question regarding developmental milestones is a loaded one; What’s the best tips/tricks to keep developmental milestones at the back of your hand? I feel like I always have to tell a parent – I’ll have to look into that developmentally more when they ask if that’s where their child should be.
What is the easiest way to keep track of developmental milestones?
Wow! As a new graduate this is such an awesome resource! Developmental milestones are a big part of pediatric therapy and parents are always wondering whether or not their child is on track. I would use this guide to help during my treatment sessions but also to use a resource to hand out to worried parents.
As an OT who works in early intervention, I think this would be a great resource!
I am curious as to when and who developmental milestones were based on (e.g., how they were determined) and if there have been any changes in what is or should be expected over time. This became a question I was curious about after seeing that different developmental tests and milestone resources had different moments/markers/indicators for various ages.
Don’t really have questions BUT am always looking for good resources to share with parents and staff/teachers
As an education consultant for families living and working in countries where there is often little or no opportunity to get therapeutic services, the earlier we can help them identify potential issues the better. This resource would be very useful in my work, helping me to fill in gaps in my knowledge base. I would benefit from having a better grip on red flags and activities that the family could use when there is no professional available.
My question how do you know if a child is ambidextrous or hasn’t developed a hand preference yet?
What’s the best way to tell parents that their child may be delayed on developmental milestones?
I would like to know if children experience an issue in a common and specific milestone that consists in a diagnosis of autism?
My question is…. at what point do you note a delay and recommend therapy? If a child is 3 months behind? 6 months? 1 year?
This seriously looks amazing! I’m often wondering about SO many milestones with my own son! He is behind so every milestone he hits I wonder how far “behind” he is or if he’s on schedule with the average child.
Wow! This would be such a great resource to have as a reference as an OT and as a mom.
My question about developmental milestones is this: When is a delay considered to be something to work on? I know with my own child I had to push for him to get evaluated for OT and PT since he wasn’t meeting milestones and was faced with pushback that as long as he is advancing, the doctor is not concerned. Thankfully, as a mom and an OT I advocated for my son, but I wonder about others in the same position as I was in who are not therapists. So another questions would be how to properly educate pediatricians in this regard?
Always looking for parent friendly milestones information to share.
I’m definitely looking into branching out to EI in the near future, as I’ve worked only with school age for the last 13 years. A resource like this would be very beneficial!
Would love to have this to help reference information quickly for families and staff
As the mom of a now adult adopted child (who lived in an orphanage for the first two years of life in impoverished Vietnam) , I drove myself crazy thinking about what was normal and not. My non OT husband always said that these milestones lists were really helpful but there is a wide range of normal, as well as catch up bench marks. Wise man! I now work with young kids whose parents always want to know what is normal and expected and what can be worked on at home. Knowing the expected milestones really helps to structure our conversations.
If a milestone is not hit, how long should you wait before seeking guidance or an evaluation?
Developmental milestones are very useful for childs academic skill and AdL skills. Delay in these definetly hampers their learning skills. My question is how does reflexes play a role in developmental milestones?
Curious how you came up with your information/results for this resource? Internet searches come up with so many variances in results that it can sometimes be difficult to provide this information to parents as they have already completed their own search and may question you on the information you provide.
With the changing baselines and prerequisites, how and where is it best to know about the best accurate developmental resource for parents, especially for those whom have a child with a disability?
Thank you for the awesome resources! I often wondering if I just left the child alone would they meet the milestone eventually or do they actually need the help? With a son with speech delays we have worked with many speech therapists and have worked really hard to help him and he is improving. I see the benefits and feel for the families and children who may not have an OT as a parent or understand the importance of working with your child everyday. Is there a phrase or example to help explain to parents the importance of meeting the milestones?
As an OT, I frequently have parents who really don’t know what milestones are to be achieved certain ages, and what impact those milestones have on their growth and development. So many times I have parents simply “don’t care” if their child can replicate block designs from a demo. What they don’t understand is that this is the groundwork for reading and writing. Having developmental resources is key to helping parents understand why these milestones are so important and how they build upon one another.
I’m a parent of a child on the autism spectrum and I’m also a teacher for a structured autism class in my district. I believe there are milestones that children on the spectrum hit, but since they are so varied and all over the spectrum, is there really a way to have milestones for these children? I wonder if there has been research on children that are mild/moderate or moderate/severly impacted? With my child being diagnosed, I was new to autism. I learned a lot through this process of raising her and with my educational background and work experience, I’m hoping I can positively contribute to every student that I meet, whether on the autism spectrum or some other disability. Thanks for your plethora of information for us. You are an angel!
I have many questions as I do not generally work with the birth to Three or Severe Developmental Delayed students. I would say that the biggest area of questions would be in the gross motor area such as standing, walking and sitting.
When evaluating a globally delayed student it is common that they do not meet any of the milestones. Should therapy be focused on encouraging exercises by the caregiver at baseline? Or should we only focus on where they are at and work on only functional skill training?
I’m curious about how the way a child was born (vaginal versus c section) is related to achievement of developmental milestones
I want to know what the typical visual milestones are.
I’m an OT who has worked mostly with adults for 10 years. I’m trying to get a position in the schools or EI so this resource would be a great refresher for what I learned a decade ago in OT school. Thanks for all of the posts!
When should a child be required to learn to write their name?
I wonder the connection between developmental milestones and twins. I have worked with so many twins that have issues in their development.
How much does it affect later on life if the child isnt meeting development stages at this age?
I would be interested in developmental milestone with preemie twins.
I’d like to know that if an older sibling has certain development delays, should we be more aware of these in subsequent children? Will they be similar?
at what age is ok to keep working on reflexes? when should it be enough?
I would love to have the resource to share with parents. I typically have emails with links or documents saved that I can refer to and/or copy for parent information. It would be great to have this information more specifically and all together. Thank you!
My question is do most therapists agree developmental delays are being seen more as parents are not getting down on the Floor to play and more equipment is being used to entertain children?
As a new grad OT, I would love more info on speech milestones I can support through my practice. I’m also wondering what the impact of skipping steps in development is both short and long term.
Fabulous resource. I am grateful you let us know about it, even if I don’t win a freebie! Thanks!
At what age should be parents started to be alarmed that their child is not meeting development milestones
Further research into retained reflexes and impact in school setting. EBP on intervention techniques to help overcome struggles.
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