Why pointing is important
It’s a necessary and extremely helpful skill to express needs and communication for children, but did you know that it could be a good predictor of your child's vocabulary size in the future? It’s a great way for your child to draw your attention to food, drink, toys and people.
Imagine the frustration of not being able to express yourself, or not being understood when you’re unable to point. Funnily enough, I have noticed that more children can learn very quickly when and how to swipe a screen on a mobile phone or tablet, yet the simple act of pointing does not come as naturally.
When a baby or toddler points, you will be immediately engaged in a simple conversation either to question exactly what they are pointing at or encourage them to say the words. The more this happens, the more comfortable they are with learning a basic language, and having simple interactions with others! This is so important for connection with others.
Pointing = Progression
Pointing is a sign your child has developed certain social and communication skills. Babies usually start pointing with their index fingers between 9 - 12 months. They can progress from pointing at pictures in books (especially great when you can ask ‘Where is the car?’ etc), to pointing out things in public!
How to teach babies to point
You can assist your child in various ways - like pointing at items in a shop, when out for a walk, in a book or even around the house. The sensory item below - the ‘Garden Pop Up’ - was recommended to me by a play therapist who often ‘pops’ into my shop! (Sorry for the bad joke!)
The 3 figures spring up and down through a concealed spring within the base. This is ideal for developing hand/eye coordination whilst also encouraging your child to use the ‘point’ action with their index finger! When they have pushed down on the object, they will then see the consequence of the action - the flower, bee or ladybird will leap into the air and a burst of laughter from the child!