By 36 months, your toddler is growing stronger and more confident, so let’s have a look at this 36 Months Development Checklist.

At this particular phase, growth and development is fun, exciting, and diverse! Provided is a framework to help you understand the direction their development should be going and also some helpful tips for you to help them along their way. It’s important to remember that no toddler is the same. Each child will reach milestones at their own pace. This framework will give you an overview of how your child’s development should be progressing.


  • Show’s more independence, i.e. putting on simple items of clothing/help to dress themselves
  • Shows empathy/affection
  • Respond’s to no/behavioural boundaries
  • Shows a range of emotions


  • Knows 1. Name 2. Age 3. Sex
  • Speaks intelligibly i.e. approximates words in a manner that allows familiar people to understand what they are saying as the use this word consistently
  • Use short sentences and phrases of 2-4 words
  • Follow 1. Instructions with 1 key word, i.e. “where’s the doggie” 2. Instructions with 2 key words, i.e. find the big spoon 3. Instruction with 3 key words, i.e. “find the small yellow ball
  • Understands basic 1. Prepositions 2. Pronouns 3. Numbers i.e. one, two
  • Names people, i.e. family, teacher, friends
  • Uses 1. Pronouns 2. Plurals (regular i.e. with an –s ending)


  • Separates from a familiar adult
  • Plays 1. Alongside other children 2. With other children 3. Turn taking games
  • Copies actions of adult and peers

36 Months Development ChecklistEXPLORING AND THINKING

  • Sustain attention for short periods, 1. In motivating activities 2. In adult directed activities, i.e. books
  • Can manipulate toys and puzzles with buttons and levers
  • Completes puzzles of 3-4 pieces
  • Engages in pretend play
  • Builds a tower of 6 blocks
  • Shows hand dominance
  • Turns a page in a book
  • Walks/runs
  • Climb up and down stairs/simple outdoor toys
  • Screws and unscrews/manipulates levers i.e. door handles
  • Throws a ball overhead
  • Imitates a line with a pencil/crayon
  • Rides a tricycle

If your child is doing all or some of the above we have created an action plan to help you support your child with their development:

  • Encourage your child to help in simple routines, i.e. tidying up, dressing, and washing teeth and hands. Provide lots of reinforcement
  • Label emotions as your child expresses them i.e. when they are laughing tell them “you’re happy” so they can understand emotions
  • Create simple boundaries and expectations for you child, use simple language to ensure your child understands the rules you have created
  • Label emotions in books and pictures, explain simply why the person is presenting with that emotion, i.e. the boy is sad because he fell
  • Remind them of their age and gender, label “boys” and “girls” in pictures and relate it to them, i.e. he’s a boy like you
  • Recast approximations, i.e. if your child says “baba” for bottle, recast it as “bottle”
  • Read with your child
  • Label items/common objects in your child’s environment to develop understanding
  • Give your child simple instructions in motivating play, i.e. “put it in”
  • Encourage your child to speak about their “friends”
  • Expose your child to opportunities to separate from familiar people, i.e. play groups etc.
  • Develop turn taking skills by giving your child simple instructions in play, i.e. “wait”
  • In pretend play, demonstrate simple actions, i.e. brushing hair etc. Encourage your child to imitate you
  • Engage your child in motivating tasks for a short period of time, praising them for their continued engagement
  • Give your child hand-over-hand if needed to complete the task involved in playing with toys
  • Integrate building blocks into pretend play, i.e. when playing with cars, trains, miniatures etc.
  • Read motivating books and books that have subjects of interest for your child
  • Play simple games such as chasing/football etc.
  • Use a soft and light ball that is easy for your child to handle

This 36 Months Development Checklist has been put together by the Multi-Disciplinary team at Adult and Child Therapy Centre.

We are dedicated to providing support to young  children and their families throughout their child’s life and want to ensure that parents have as much information around their child’s development as possible in order to gain a better insight to their child and how best to support them.