By 42 months, your toddler loves to hop, skip, jump, and explore the world, so let’s have a look at the 42 Months Development Checklist.

This sense of wonder has a lot to do with their imagination, which is blossoming just as rapidly as their vocabulary at this age. 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.


  • Uses a spoon when eating
  • Shows empathy/affection sometimes
  • Usually respond’s to no/behavioural boundaries
  • Separates from their caregiver when encouraged by a familiar adult
  • Drinks from a cup without spilling
  • Makes choices of a preferred item
  • Calms down within a reasonable time when a familiar person comforts them


  • Responds if someone speaks to them
  • Ask questions such as “what’s that”
  • Engages in simple conversation
  • Follow instruction with 3 key words, i.e. “find the small yellow ball”
  • Understands function i.e. “what do we eat”
  • Understands and uses 1. Pronouns 2. Conjunctions
  • Sings favourite songs
  • Request for help


  • Maintains attention for at least 3 minutes on a preferred activity
  • Knows the difference between familiar and unfamiliar people
  • Knows his/her own name
  • Talk about their home, family, pets and friends
  • Engages in make-believe play with peers i.e. with a train set


  • Manoeuvre around their environment, negotiating obstacles when needed
  • Hold a pen in a preferred hand
  • Understands concepts such as 1. More 2. Big/small
  • Anticipates in a familiar routine
  • Counts from 1 – 5
  • Understand categories and puts object in categories
  • Holds and turns a page in a book
  • Throws and catches a large ball
  • Draw and copy simple shapes and lines

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:

  • Provide your child with foods that require a spoon to be consumed, i.e. yogurt, pureed foods etc.
  • Use utensils in play, i.e. feeding dolls/teddies
  • Respond to your child when they are upset/hurt and attempt to comfort them
  • Create simple boundaries and expectations for you child, use simple language to ensure your child understands the rules you have created
  • Maintain consistency when separating from your child, as returning will reinforce their behaviour
  • Introduce cups that are easy to grasp, i.e. cups with handles and that are light (plastic)
  • Keep items out of reach to encourage choice making and pointing to request
  • Play simple games that requires your child to respond when they are spoken to, i.e. throwing a ball back and forth
  • When reading/looking through books, disperse questions throughout, asking them what they see
  • Engage your child in conversation in play, i.e. playing with toy tea sets, dolls
  • Augment verbal directions with gestures i.e. point to items you are requesting
  • Use action words in play to develop your child’s understanding of function.
  • Engage your child in a motivating activity, expand on their play to keep them interested, use toys they enjoy
  • Develop appropriate behaviours i.e. hugging people we know well versus strangers
  • When meeting new people prompt your child to tell the other person their name
  • Done To do
  • Bring your child to playgrounds and soft play areas to expose them to develop their gross motor skills
  • Encourage your child to colour and paint regularly
  • Label simple concepts in play, i.e. this one is big/small
  • Make routines simple and manageable, i.e. putting on shoes and socks
  • Read motivating books and books that have subjects of interest for your child

This 42 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.