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.

The How

  1. 1

    Mission Possible

    Routine: Play Time
     of 1

    Send baby on a mission using simple prompts like “Where is your tub of lotion?” or “Go get a diaper!” to locate everyday items. Then let them explore their surroundings and discover the answers independently.


    Playing mission games strengthen receptive language skills that up confidence levels while securing a deeper level of connection.

  2. 2

    Light Up the Dark

    Routine: Play Time
     of 2

    Turn off the lights and draw the shades in your baby's room. Place your baby on their tummy and sit just behind them. Shine a bright flashlight toward a specific object and softly say its name. Turn off the flashlight before illuminating the next object.


    This exercise is designed to help your baby develop physical strength as they are placed on their tummy, while also engaging their visual system through focused illumination. In addition, by naming the object that is illuminated, you are continuing to aid your baby's early language development.

  3. 3

    Shared Attention

    Routine: Play Time
     of 3

    Find moments to intentionally point out discoveries to baby during walks or while playing, and see if you can get them to follow your lead.  You can also notice and respond to something baby is interested in, and see if they allow you to participate in their exploration.


    Think of your communication with baby as a dance: one of you moves forward, and the other responds. One changes the pace, and the other follows. One trips, and the other catches them. Every shared interaction teaches baby how to follow and how to lead. These dances are messy, imperfect, and fleeting–but repetition is key and each is a chance to find flow. Each day offers countless opportunities to make a connection that has a lasting impact on both of you.

Support for You

Baby has gotten pretty great at playing. And you’ve likely gotten good at your role in their adventures. Imagine yourself as their tour guide—pointing out objects, making connections, posing questions, and engaging as much as you can. This is very different from grants permission, having your own agenda, and approving or disapproving. In play, you can facilitate the environment—provide the materials, create the space, and introduce the game—but baby should be the boss of their own discovery. As long as baby is safe it’s good for them to feel a sense of control over their own actions and your subsequent reactions. Sure, you can offer a few helpful hints and provide comfort around a failed attempt, but a little space for them to do “their thing” will help send the message that you have confidence in their skills.

Let's Check on the Basics

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Is baby eating?
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Is baby sleeping?
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Is baby pooping?

Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
Contact us for support resources!

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