Developmental Milestones 8-12 Months

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Standards (NQS) are the Australian Government guide outlining the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.

With regard to monitoring the developmental milestones of young children, the EYLF reminds us that:

“Children’s learning is ongoing and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways. Learning is not always predictable and linear. Educators plan with each child and the outcomes in mind.” (Early Years Learning Framework, p.19)

At the Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare Centres in NSW we closely follow the practices set out by the EYLF and our trained educators use their expected outcomes as a guide to monitor the developmental stages of the babies and children in our care, never losing sight of the fact that it is natural for all children to progress at their own pace.

A summary of the milestone guide for babies 8-12 months:

Physical Development

  • Can bring themselves into a sitting position
  • Can sit without support
  • Stands by pulling themselves up using support
  • Starting to make steps using furniture/carers for support
  • Accurately reaches out and grasps toys etc.
  • Transfers objects from hand to the other
  • Uses thumb and fingers to pick up toys/objects or food/bottle
  • Can throw small objects
  • Can crawl around efficiently
  • Possibly can stand on their own for a few moments
  • Starts trying to crawl up stairs etc.
  • Uses hands to feed, and may start grasping spoon
  • Notices things around room/peripheral vision
  • Can roll toys and retrieve by crawling to them


  • Can show separation anxiety when parent leaves room
  • Tries to stay close to parent/main caregiver
  • Begins to feel empathy, but may only know how to soothe own distress
  • May offer favourite toy to adult, but will not always hand over
  • Explores and plays more when parent present, also interacting with them


  • Make gestures to communicate e.g. pointing at objects
  • Moves things out of way to get to toy/object
  • Holds objects in each hand and bangs together
  • Recognises and responds well to own name
  • Begins to understand things parents or familiar adults say
  • Enjoys dropping and retrieving toys (or having them retrieved)
  • Smiles and laughs at reflection
  • Starts playing with water and showing interest in board books etc.
  • Responds to gestures e.g. wave hello, wave bye-bye
  • Enjoys music, rhymes and toys with sound
  • Shows new emotions e.g. surprise



  • Anxiety and wariness of unfamiliar people


  • Recognises own name and names of family members and toys etc.
  • Uses baby talk and cheerful babble
  • Uses simple words e.g. ‘dada’ or ‘mama’
  • Copies sounds and actions, enjoys simple rhymes/songs
  • Waves hello and goodbye and claps hands
  • Shouts or wails to get attention
  • Begins to make sounds imitating proper conversation

Talk to a professional for advice if your 8-12 month old is:

  • Not responsive to caregivers/familiar people
  • Not babbling or making baby noises
  • Not trying to sit, crawl or stand
  • Not playing with feet, swapping objects from one hand to another
  • Not interested in interacting with toys
  • Not learning to eat solid foods

If you or your childcare centre believes that your child may be falling behind with any of these developmental milestones, or if you are noticing any of the signs that you think may be a cause for concern, make an appointment with your family health nurse or GP who will conduct a comprehensive developmental check.

…And remember there really is no normal when it comes to human development.