• 3 years old




Developmental Milestones

Milestone chart
  • Will know the difference between food and non-food items.
  • Will show a clear food preferences i.e. particular likes and dislikes of certain foods.
  • Will swallow well from a cup losing no liquid with good lip seal around the cup.
  • Will swallow food well without losing food with good lip seal and control.
  • Will move jaw in round movements as well as side to side during chewing.
  • Will scoop food with spoon with some loss.
  • Can use a straw and hold the cup with one or both hands.
  • The child can use a pitcher to pour water into a cup.
  • Will begin to use a fork with improving accuracy.
  • Will start to stab food with fork and bring it to mouth.
  • Will be able to feed themselves with a spoon and a fork and serve themselves.

Between the ages of 2-3 your child will start to eat the same food as the rest of the family.

At this age, it’s a great time to get kids involved in helping to cook recipes. This experience in the kitchen along with an adult supports development of fine motor, sensory motor, and visual motor skills

Ideas for Learning and Growth

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  • Help your child develop his language skills by speaking to him in longer sentences than his, using real words. Repeat what he says, for example, “need nana,” and then show how to use more “grown-up” words by saying, “I want a banana.”
  • Let your child help with making meals. Give him simple tasks, such as washing fruits and vegetables or stirring.
  • Give your child instructions with 2 or 3 steps. For example, “Go to the cabinet and get a cup and plate.”
  • Encourage your child to solve her own problems with your support. Ask questions to help her understand the problem. Help her think of solutions, try one out, and try more if needed.


Concerns Icon
  • You know your child best. Don’t wait. If your child is not meeting one or more milestones, has lost skills he or she once had, or you have other concerns, act early.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor, share your concerns, and ask about a developmental screening.

If you or the doctor are still concerned:

  1. Ask for a referral to a specialist who can evaluate your child more; and
  2. Call your local Missouri public elementary school in which your family resides and ask for a free evaluation to find out if your child can get services to help.

What's Next?

Download the Milestone Tracker app today!

Track your child’s milestones from age 2 months to 5 years with the CDC’s easy-to-use illustrated checklists; get tips from the CDC for encouraging your child’s development; and find out what to do if you are ever concerned about how your child is developing. Photos and videos in this app illustrate each milestone and make tracking them for your child easy and fun.


Download the App