Developmental Milestones

Personal-Social Skills & Activities

It is important for children to learn they can trust and rely on their caregivers. It is also vital that children have healthy interactions with their caregivers, adults, and peers. Personal-social skills are abilities children must develop to care for themselves (washing hands, using utensils) and interact with others (playing games, understanding feelings of others). Personal development is about how children understand themselves and what they can do. Social development includes how children understand themselves in relation to their interactions with others. Providing opportunities for your child to practice these skills is important as they develop and grow.

It is vital that children have healthy interactions with their caregivers and peers.


2-6 months

  • Smiles responsively
  • Looks at own hands/sucks on fingers
  • Works for a toy
  • Responds to touch
  • Enjoys social stimulation
  • Accepts comfort from familiar adult

6-9 months

  • Expresses emotions: fear, sadness, happiness
  • Distinguishes between familiar people and strangers
  • Show frustration when an item is taken away
  • Develops preferences for people/toys

9-15 months

  • Holds a cup and drinks with help
  • Prefers primary caregiver over others
  • Feeds self small bites
  • Shows anxiety when separated from caregivers

15-18 months

  • Initiates play activities
  • Expresses negative emotions (anger)
  • Becomes more aware of self
  • Recognizes self in mirror

2-3 years

  • Takes turns in games
  • Begins to dress/undress self
  • Shows preferences about toys/food
  • May have rapid changes in mood
  • Enjoys watching/playing with other children
  • Aware they are a boy or girl

4-5 years

  • Develop friendships
  • Enjoy imaginative play with other children
  • May negotiate solutions to conflicts
  • Compare selves to other children/adults



  • Allow your infant to feel different textures
  • Provide experiences for your baby to look at a variety of colors, shapes and objects
  • Talk about your baby’s world
  • Sing to your baby and play music
  • Read daily to your baby


  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Play hide-and-seek with objects
  • Encourage play with puzzles, blocks, nesting toys and drawing materials
  • Provide a variety of toys and activities that require your child to problem solve
  • Play music and sing
  • Read daily to your child

2-3 years

  • Sort objects by color, shape, etc.
  • Help your child “write” his own book by writing his words while he or she draws the pictures
  • Teach the words; on, under, behind, around by playing games like Simon Says
  • Provide a “dress-up” box for your child for imaginative play
  • Read daily to your child

3-4 years

  • Teach your child to count and recognize the numbers one to ten
  • Conduct simple science experiments
  • Play memory games
  • Compare objects of differing size and weight
  • Cut objects into fractions of ½, ¼, etc.
  • Read daily to your child

5-6 years

  • Plant a garden with your child
  • Show your child how to make simple recipes using measurements
  • Allow your child to have a lemonade stand, making the lemonade and counting change
  • Help your child write his or her name
  • Read daily to your child