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  • Hooray When Your Baby Starts Pointing At Things! How To Help Your Little One Hone This Milestone

    by Rachel Perez .
Hooray When Your Baby Starts Pointing At Things! How To Help Your Little One Hone This Milestone
PHOTO BY James Kim via Flickr Creative Common License
  • Babies communicate way earlier than being able to say their first words. At first, they can only cry to get your attention if they’re hungry or their nappies are wet. Then, as they have more control of their arms, hands, and fingers, they start using gestures. 


    Between 6 to 11 months, your little one will start to point at things that interest him. It’s one of a child’s social milestones!

    Why baby starts pointing at things 

    When your baby starts pointing at things, it’s a gesture your little one has leveled up her communication skills. He’s learned from seeing you do it. 

    Your baby is communicating!

    When you see your baby point, he’s communicating with you. It may mean three things: “Look at that!” “I want that!” Or “What is that?” Soon, your baby will learn that pointing gives them essential information.

    Your baby wants joint attention or guided play. 

    What is joint attention? It’s “when a baby and adult are both paying attention to the same thing at the same time.” This helps kids learn and build relationships.

    Your baby wants to hear your voice or talk to you.

    According to Zero To Three , a parenting resource that helps ensures that babies and toddlers build connections critical to their well-being and development, says, “When your baby points, you are more likely to talk about what they’re pointing at.


    Your little one wants you to say what it is he’s pointing at. This practice helps encourage word association and build your child’s vocabulary. He’s learning speech and language. The more children point at things at age 1, the better their language skills are at age 2.

    What parents can do to help

    Pointing at things is just one step forward in your child’s development. It doesn’t stop there. You can use your baby’s newfound skill to develop other skills. Here’s what you can do.

    Give them your full attention.

    It may still sound strange to talk to someone who can’t reply in sentences, but this is crucial. When your little one is pointing, your baby needs your help. 

    Be sure to respond to your child.

    Describe what your baby points at, name it, and if safe, give it to them so they can touch and explore it more. Encourage them by asking what he might be telling you about what he’s pointing at. 

    Do activities that use his pointy finger. 

    Pointing is a motor skill, so encourage your child to practice it. It doesn’t take a lot, and you don’t have to use any special toys. Popping bubbles, pressing buttons, poking holes, finger-painting are activities that encourage motor skills development. 

    Just like in pointing, notice and respond to the other gestures your baby is using to communicate. Doing so reiterates what they could mean and help your child use it again. These include grabbing things, giving objects, pushing away things, reaching out, raising their hands to be picked up, and more. 

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    If your baby is pointing at something, by the time he’s age 1, talk to your doctor about it. It’s one of the red flags for speech and language delay or autism, among other things. 

    What other parents are reading

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