The Power of Pointing

Month 9
Month 10
Month 11

Last Month's Wow:

Picky Eating

As baby develops motor independence, separation and picky eating will follow—because they are naturally connected. As they become more aware that things exist elsewhere, they begin to get suspicious about strangers entering their space.

The Wow of Now:

The Power of Pointing

Baby is gaining confidence in exploring spaces with greater trust and understanding of objects staying in place. Now, the concept of “where” emerges as a big wow-moment.

The Wow Ahead:

The Joy of Jargoning

Complex babbling with a sprinkle of real words signals the start of the jargoning phase: intonation and gibberish, which include comments, questions, and commands. A language all their own, jargoning furthers baby’s agenda and agency over their expanding world.

The Wow

Pointing has become baby’s preferred method of expressing agency. Pointing with their finger is a more refined tool for locating things, keeping track, and indicating needs. “Shared attention” is when baby and caregiver share focus on the same object, together. This can be initiated by baby—for example, when they point at a tree and you say, “Yes, that is a tree.  It is a very tall tree that has green leaves.”  Or it can be in response to a caregiver’s action—like when you point to a ball and say, “honey, look at this red ball that rolls,” and baby looks to the ball. 
 
This back-and-forth signals that you and baby can share focus between an object and each other, and communicate together about what that object does or is. This will ultimately help them to: 1. Understand how others think and feel. 2. Relate and adjust to new friends, relationships, and circumstances. 3. Communicate with others about their thoughts and ideas.
 
Establishing shared attention is a major step in the development of social communication and cognitive skills, and its absence can be an early indicator of Autism Spectrum Disorder. While baby has been working on the principles of shared attention from birth, right now is a key point in the development of this important concept. As always, if you have any concerns about baby’s development, talk to your provider. Development does not look the same across babies and early support is available if you need it.

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