Children usually progress in a natural, predictable
sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and
gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area,
such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor
Milestones usually are categorized into five major
areas: physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social
development, language development, and sensory and motor development.
Physical growth and development
Most children by age
Have gained about
4.4 lb (2 kg) and grown
1.5 in. (4 cm) to
2 in. (5 cm) since their fourth
To see the high and low percentiles for normal weight and growth, go to www.cdc.gov/growthcharts.
Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)
children by age 5:
Know their address and phone number.
Recognize most letters of the alphabet.
Can count 10
or more objects.
Know the names of at least 4 colors.
Understand the basic concepts of time.
household objects are used for, such as money, food, or appliances.
Emotional and social development
Most children by
Want to please and be liked by their friends,
though they may sometimes be mean to others.
Agree to rules most of
Are more able to distinguish fantasy from reality but enjoy
playing make-believe and dress-up.
Have distinct ways of playing
according to gender. Most 5-year-old boys play in rough or physically active
ways. Girls of the same age are more likely to engage in social
Most children by age 5:
Carry on a meaningful conversation with
Understand relationships between objects, such as
"the boy who is jumping rope."
Use the future tense, such as
"Let's go to the zoo tomorrow!"
Often call people (or objects) by
their relationship to others, such as "Bobby's mom" instead of "Mrs. Smith."
Talk about or tell stories. They have little or no trouble being
understood by others.
Sensory and motor development
Most children by age
Somersault and possibly
Swing and climb.
Hop on one foot.
the toilet by themselves. They may still
wet the bed, though.
By age 5, most children can use their hands and fingers (fine motor skills) to:
Copy triangles and other geometric
Draw a person with a head, a body, arms, and
Dress and undress on their own, although they may still need
help tying shoelaces.
Write some small and capital letters from the
Eat with a fork, spoon, and possibly a flatware
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.