30-31 Months

Follow these milestones to see how your baby aligns with these stages of development.

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Fine motor skills

• Is able to snip paper and fold paper in half
• Is able to copy simple patterns like a cross
• May start to undo buttons and zips
• Is able to remove large lids by rotating the wrist

Gross motor skills

• Is able to jump up and down with both feet together
• Is able to climb steps with alternating feet
• May start to pedal a tricycle
• May start to experiment with the skill of hopping on one foot
• Is able to keep balance when walking on a balance beam or straight line (not walking heel-to-toe yet)

Communication and language development

• Vocabulary ranges between 300 and 350 words
• Is able to name objects and actions
• Is able to answer questions using short phrases but cannot tell narratives yet
• Is starting to refer to self as “I”
• May start to experiment with volume levels

Social and emotional interaction

• Is starting to understand right from wrong and how to regulate behaviour
• Engages mainly in parallel play although becoming interested in interacting with other children and some group play
• May still struggle to share
• May experience some frustration between wanting to be independent but still needing some assistance
• May develop a fear of the dark

Cognitive development

• Is able to sort objects according to size, shape and colour
• Is able to follow 3-step instructions
• Is able to say first and last name
• Is very inquisitive and willing to learn; may ask a lot of questions
• Is able to copy 3 to 4-block structures
• Enjoys reciting rhymes or parts of song lyrics

Self-help and imitation skills

• Encourage potty-training for boys and girls

31-32 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Enjoys using crayons, pencils and markers
• Is able to make strokes with a paintbrush
• Is able to draw horizontal lines without any help
• Enjoys experimenting with playdough, for example, rolling the dough in snake-like shapes

Gross motor skills

• Is able to throw a ball overhead
• Is able to hop twice on each leg
• Is starting to experiment with skills such as galloping, skipping and spinning
• May be able to pedal and steer a tricycle

Communication and language development

• Enjoys mimicking speech patterns
• Is starting to use adjectives and more expressive speech
• Is able to refer to friends by name
• Vocabulary stretches to about 400 words
• Is able to speak 400 words
• Enjoys reciting rhymes and singing songs

Social and emotional interaction

• May find it difficult to distinguish reality from fiction, which may result in telling lies
• Is developing a strong sense of self; being assertive and taking charge
• Displays feelings of frustration when things do not go their way
• Is beginning to understand rules and consequences

Cognitive development

• Is able to build simple puzzles with large pieces
• Is starting to understand concepts like naptime and dinnertime
• Is able to recognise changes in the weather

Self-help and imitation skills

• Is able to get dressed independently
• Is able to put on own shoes but cannot tie shoelaces yet

32-33 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Is able to trace or copy shapes and symbols
• Prefers to scribble with one hand although hand dominance is not established yet
• Enjoys art activities like sand art or painting with watercolour paint
• Is able to use coordinated fine motor movements to build towers of 9+ blocks without toppling

Gross motor skills

• May start to experiment with upside-down movements and positions
• Is able to balance on one leg and enjoys jumping activities
• Enjoys ball activities and is in the process of perfecting throwing overhand
• Is able to jump over a 15-cm-high barrier and a distance of about 20 cm

Communication and language development

• Is able to speak 4 to 5-word sentences
• Is able to distinguish between past and present tense
• May ask questions and comment on pictures as you read stories
• May talk to self during play

Social and emotional interaction

• Has a willingness to do things independently, which may lead to frustration and tantrums when not successful in attempts
• Is starting to engage in interactive play
• Is starting to form bonds with close peers
• May show a certain degree of stubbornness as boundaries are tested (saying yes when you say no or no when you say yes)
• May become aware of own limitations (I can’t climb up there, as it is too high for me)

Cognitive development

• Enjoys hide-and-seek games
• Enjoys building more complicated puzzles
• Is able to name about 8 body parts
• Is able to differentiate between sizes
• Is able to verbally communicate likes and dislikes

Self-help and imitation skills

• Is able to use the toilet with minimal assistance
• Girls may be fully potty trained
• Is able to get dressed independently and may insist on picking out own clothes
• Is able to wash and dry own hands
• Is able to self-feed with little to no spillage

33-34 Months

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Fine motor skills

• May start to trace own name
• Enjoys building structures with blocks
• May start to draw simple stick figures

Gross motor skills

• Enjoys engaging in physical play
• Likes to explore new territories while climbing, swinging and sliding
• Is able to run and stop suddenly without tripping or falling
• Is learning and exploring the skill of manoeuvring around obstacles

Communication and language development

• Enjoys engaging in conversation with parents, caretakers and other children
• Speech will become more understandable to people outside the household
• Is able to say first and last name
• Is able to name family members and close friends

Social and emotional interaction

• May start to seek out special friends to play with but is still shy when confronted with unfamiliar children
• May play more fantasy games as imagination takes flight
• Is very inquisitive by nature
• Will seek approval from parents and build confidence as parents give praise
• May experience a sleep regression just before the age of three due to the rapid brain and physical development; may struggle to settle down at night

Cognitive development

• Is able to fully comprehend object permanence (that an object is present although it cannot be seen)
• Enjoys building puzzles
• Is able to describe pictures and identify a wide range of objects
• Notices and questions everything

Self-help and imitation skills

• May get dressed and undressed numerous times per day
• Potty-training will be in full swing by this age
• Is able to self-feed independently

34-35 Months

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Fine motor skills

• May start exploring with scissors while attempting to cut a piece of paper in half
• Is able to string large beads
• May draw stick figures of self and attempt to include family members

Gross motor skills

• Is able to reach the handles of most doors and may explore with opening and closing doors
• Enjoys climbing, running and jumping activities and exerts high energy
• Exploring outdoor activities is crucial for development at this age

Communication and language development

• Is able to name a few colours and shapes
• Is able to recognise the first letter of own name
• Is able to converse in 3 to 4 sentences and is eager to talk to anyone who will listen
• Shows an extensive vocabulary of 550 words
• May ask plenty of “why” questions

Social and emotional interaction

• Is able to make friends more easily
• Shows a better understanding of the concept of sharing
• May start to mimic adult behaviour like playing “doctor” or “house”

Cognitive development

• May start to tell stories through artwork or playdough creations
• Memory is developing rapidly at this age
• Is able to understand the difference between present and past tense

Self-help and imitation skills

• Enjoys involvement in household tasks and actively participates
• May start to experiment with a knife and fork
• Enjoys packing own bag when going out

35-36 Months

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Fine motor skills

• May start to fold a piece of paper and roughly cut out a shape
• Is able to understand the concept of tracing – may still need assistance
• Enjoys working with paste and glue sticks
• Is able to stack and balance towers of 10+ blocks

Gross motor skills

• Is experimenting with new motor skills such as hopping, skipping and galloping
• Shows boundless energy during physical activities
• Is able to ride and manoeuvre a tricycle with minimal assistance
• Catches, kicks and throws a ball accurately

Communication and language development

• Vocabulary may increase to between 800 to 850 words
• Is able to use 4 to 5-word sentences
• Enjoys storytelling and asks endless questions
• Has a better sense of manners and is able to use please and thank you in the correct context
• May start to use words from a second language (if exposed to one)

Social and emotional interaction

• Enjoys engaging in activities with other children and converses well with peers
• Is able to express own emotions, relate to others and show more empathy
• May start to engage in symbolic play, for example, using a hairbrush as a microphone
• May resist naptime, and bedtime may be a challenge
• May develop a fear of the dark and be shy around strangers

Cognitive development

• Is able to distinguish between present, past and future
• Is able to follow more complex instructions
• Is able to learn, retain and apply new information
• Shows an improvement in focused attention
• Is able to sort objects according to categories

Self-help and imitation skills

• Enjoys helping with household chores like setting or clearing the table
• Is able to eat, drink and get dressed independently

These Developmental Milestones, ranging from birth to 36 months, are a combination of my own experience and knowledge as well as guidelines from THE BABY CENTER.