Important Milestones: Your Baby By Thirty Months
How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children (75% or more) can do by a certain age.
Check the milestones your child has reached by 30 months by completing a checklist with CDC’s free Milestone Tracker mobile app, for iOS and Android devices, using the Digital Online Checklist, or by printing the checklist [916 KB, 2 Pages, Print Only] below.
“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools.
What most babies do by this age:
- Plays next to other children and sometimes plays with them
- Shows you what she can do by saying, “Look at me!”
- Follows simple routines when told, like helping to pick up toys when you say, “It’s clean-up time.”
- Says about 50 words
- Says two or more words together, with one action word, like “Doggie run”
- Names things in a book when you point and ask, “What is this?”
- Says words like “I,” “me,” or “we”
Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Uses things to pretend, like feeding a block to a doll as if it were food
- Shows simple problem-solving skills, like standing on a small stool to reach something
- Follows two-step instructions like “Put the toy down and close the door.”
- Shows he knows at least one color, like pointing to a red crayon when you ask, “Which one is red?”
Movement/Physical Development Milestones
Other important things to share with the doctor…
- What are some things you and your baby do together?
- What are some things your baby likes to do?
- Is there anything your baby does or does not do that concerns you?
- Has your baby lost any skills he/she once had?
- Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?
Concerned About Your Child’s Development?
You know your child best. Don’t wait. If your child is not meeting one or more milestones, has lost skills he or she once had, or you have other concerns, act early. Talk with your child’s doctor, share your concerns, and ask about developmental screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern.
If you or the doctor are still concerned:
- Ask for a referral to a specialist who can evaluate your child more; and
- Call your state or territory’s early intervention program to find out if your child can get services to help. Learn more and find the number at cdc.gov/FindEI.
For more on how to help your child, visit cdc.gov/Concerned.
As your child’s first teacher, you can help his or her learning and brain development. Try these simple tips and activities in a safe way. Talk with your child’s doctor and teachers if you have questions or for more ideas on how to help your child’s development.
- Encourage “free play,” where your child can follow her interests, try new things, and use things in new ways.
- Use positive words and give more attention to behaviors you want to see (“wanted behaviors”), than to those you don’t want to see. For example, say “I like how you gave Jordan the toy.”
- Give your child food choices that are simple and healthy. Let him choose what to eat for a snack or what to wear. Limit choices to two or three.
- Ask your child simple questions about books and stories. Ask questions, such as “Who?” “What?” and “Where?”
- Help your child learn how to play with other children. Show him how by helping him share, take turns, and use his “words.”
- Let your child “draw” with crayons on paper, shaving cream on a tray, or chalk on a sidewalk. If you draw a straight line, see if she will copy you. When she gets good at lines, show her how to draw a circle.
- Let your child play with other children, such as at a park or library. Ask about local play groups and pre-school programs. Playing with others helps him learn the value of sharing and friendship.
- Eat family meals together as much as you can. Give the same meal to everyone. Enjoy each other’s company and avoid screen time (TV, tablets, and phones, etc.) during meals.
- Limit screen time (TV, tablets, phones, etc.) to no more than 1 hour per day of a children’s program with an adult present. Children learn by talking, playing, and interacting with others.
- Use words to describe things to your child, such as big/small, fast/slow, on/off, and in/out.
- Help your child do simple puzzles with shapes, colors, or animals. Name each piece when your child puts it in place.
- Play with your child outside. For example, take your child to the park to climb on equipment and run in safe areas.
- Allow your child to eat as much or as little as she wants at each meal. Your job is to offer her healthy foods and it’s your child’s job to decide if and how much she wants to eat.
- Ask your child’s doctor and/or teachers about toilet training to know if your child is ready to start. Most children are not able to toilet train until 2 to 3 years old. Starting too early can cause stress and setbacks, which can cause training to take longer.
- Let your child play with large boxes. He can pretend it is a car, bus, train, or house. Let him color, paint it, and put stickers on it.
- Play with your child outside by playing “ready, set, go.” For example, pull your child back in a swing. Say “Ready, set…”, then wait and say “Go” when you push the swing.
- Encourage your child to name colors, body parts, and pictures in books.
- Kick a ball back and forth with your child. When your child is good at that, show her how to run and kick the ball.
- Have steady routines for sleeping and feeding. Create a calm, quiet bedtime for your child. Put on her pajamas, brush her teeth, and read 1 or 2 books to her. Children this age need 11 to 14 hours of sleep a day (including naps). Consistent sleep times make it easier.
- Play “follow the leader” with your child. Walk in a straight line, make turns, walk backwards, and walk on tiptoes. Let your child lead after you show him how.
- Read to your child and visit the local library. This will help your child enjoy reading and be ready to read when she is older.
- Encourage “pretend” play. For example, let your child pretend to cook using safe things from your kitchen.
- Show your child how to turn pages in a book or magazine.
Special acknowledgments to the subject matter experts and others who contributed to the review of data and selection of developmental milestones, especially Paul H. Lipkin, MD, Michelle M. Macias, MD, Julie F. Pajek, PhD, Judith S. Shaw, EdD, MPH, RN, Karnesha Slaughter, MPH, Jane K. Squires, PhD, Toni M. Whitaker, MD, Lisa D. Wiggins, PhD, and Jennifer M. Zubler, MD.
Sincere gratitude to Natalia Benza, MD and José O. Rodríguez, MD, MBA for their thoughtful review of the Spanish-language translation of these milestones.