The Magic of Pointing: When Do Babies Start Pointing?

Have you ever wondered at what age babies begin to point? It’s a simple gesture that seems to come so naturally to toddlers, but the development behind it is quite fascinating. Not only does pointing play a crucial role in a baby’s communication skills, but it also reveals key insights into their cognitive and social development. In this article, we dive into the question of what age do babies point and explore the significance of this milestone in a child’s early years. Get ready to uncover the fascinating world of baby pointing and its impact on their growth and development.


Pointing is a significant and exciting milestone in a baby’s development. It signifies their growing ability to communicate and interact with the world around them. As parents, it is natural to wonder when your baby will begin to point and what age this important developmental milestone will occur.

What is pointing?

Pointing is when a baby extends their index finger or another object towards something of interest. It can also include using their whole hand or an open palm to direct attention towards an object or person. While this may seem like a simple gesture, it involves multiple cognitive processes, including visual tracking, motor skills, and intentionality.

When do babies start pointing?

On average, most babies begin pointing between 9-12 months old. However, some may start as early as 6-8 months or as late as 18 months. Every child develops at their own pace, so there is no exact age for when they will start pointing.

Signs that your baby is ready to point

While there is no specific age for when babies start pointing, there are some signs that your little one may be getting ready to point:

– Eye contact: Before they can point effectively, babies need to be able to follow objects with their eyes and visually track them.
– Reaching: Around the 6-8 month mark, you may notice your baby reaching out for toys or objects.
– Mimicking: Babies learn through imitation, so if they see you pointing at something and then attempt it themselves, it could be a sign that they are getting ready to point.
– Pointing with other body parts: Some babies may first try to point with their whole hand or even their foot before using their index finger.

The role of social interaction in pointing

Pointing is a social behavior that is often learned through interaction with others. Babies who have older siblings or spend time with other children may start pointing earlier than those who do not have these opportunities. This is because they are exposed to pointing and may see others using it to communicate.

Social interaction also plays a crucial role in shaping how babies point. For example, if a baby points to an object and their caregiver responds by giving the object to them, they learn that pointing is an effective means of communication.

The developmental significance of pointing

Pointing is more than just a cute gesture; it has significant developmental significance for babies. It shows that they are developing the cognitive ability to understand and communicate about things in their environment. Pointing also highlights the connection between language and gestures, as it serves as a precursor for spoken language.

In addition, as babies continue to point and receive responses from caregivers, they learn about cause and effect relationships and how their actions can elicit a response.

How to encourage your baby to point

If you are eager for your little one to start pointing, there are some ways you can encourage this behavior:

– Use gestures: Babies learn through imitation, so use gestures such as pointing yourself when communicating with them.
– Encourage social interaction: Spend time with your baby playing games that involve movement or using toys together.
– Be responsive: When your baby points at an object or person, acknowledge them and respond accordingly. This will reinforce the behavior.
– Point out objects of interest: When you are out and about with your baby, point out interesting objects for them to look at. This will show them that pointing is useful in drawing attention towards something.

What if my baby isn’t pointing yet?

If your baby has not started pointing by 18 months old, or if you notice delays in other areas of development, it is essential to consult with your pediatrician. They can assess your baby’s overall development and provide guidance on potential interventions or therapies if needed.


Pointing is a critical developmental milestone that signifies your baby’s growing ability to communicate and interact with the world around them. While most babies start pointing between 9-12 months, every child develops at their own pace, so there is no need to be worried if your baby hasn’t started pointing yet. Encouraging social interaction and responding positively when they do point can help support this developmental milestone. And remember, if you have any concerns about your baby’s development, always consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

Developmental Milestone: Pointing in Babies

Pointing is an important milestone in a baby’s development, signaling a critical step towards communication and social interaction. It is a simple gesture that appears to come naturally to most babies, but it actually represents a significant leap in cognitive and motor skills. In this article, we will explore the significance of pointing in babies and discuss when you can expect your little one to start pointing.

The Significance of Pointing

Pointing is a crucial form of communication for babies as it allows them to express their desires, interests, and needs to their caregivers. Before they have developed the ability to speak, pointing helps them convey what they want or what they are interested in, such as a toy or food item. This helps bridge the gap between non-verbal and verbal communication and lays the foundation for language development. Furthermore, pointing also promotes social interaction as it enables babies to initiate joint attention with others.

When Do Babies Start Pointing?

Most typically developing babies start pointing between 9-12 months of age. However, every child develops at their own pace, so there is no need to worry if your baby takes longer than this time frame to start pointing. Some babies may start pointing as early as 7 months while others may not do so until 15-18 months.

Regardless of when they start pointing, it is crucial to keep an eye out for other developmental milestones such as making eye contact, responding to their name, babbling, and imitating gestures. These are all building blocks for the development of more complex communication skills.

How Does Pointing Develop?

Pointing requires the coordination of various physical and cognitive skills. At first, babies typically use their whole hand or fingers to reach out for objects or people they are interested in. As they grow and develop more dexterity, they start using their index finger to point. This change in pointing behavior is crucial as it shows that babies have developed a better understanding of the gesture’s purpose.

It is also worth mentioning that pointing is a social skill that babies learn from observing and imitating others. By watching their caregivers and peers, they begin to understand how pointing works and its significance in communication.

Why Do Some Babies Point Later Than Others?

As mentioned earlier, every child develops at their own pace, so there is no definite answer to why some babies may start pointing later than others. However, there are some factors that may influence the timing of this developmental milestone. For example, if a baby is born prematurely or has a physical or cognitive delay, they may take longer to reach this milestone.

It is essential to remember that every child is unique and will reach developmental milestones at their own pace. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, consult with your pediatrician for reassurance or guidance.

Ways to Encourage Pointing in Babies

There are several ways you can help your baby develop the skill of pointing:

– Be an attentive caregiver: Responding promptly to your baby’s needs and interests shows them that you are paying attention and encourages them to communicate with you.
– Label objects: When playing with your baby, label objects as you point at them. This helps them make connections between words and the objects they represent.
– Encourage eye contact: Maintaining eye contact while interacting with your baby helps build trust and allows for more meaningful communication.
– Use gestures yourself: By using gestures yourself, such as pointing or waving, you are modeling the behavior for your baby.
– Praise any attempts at pointing: Even if your baby doesn’t quite get it right, praise their efforts as it encourages them to keep trying.

What if My Baby Doesn’t Point?

If your baby is not pointing by 18 months, it may be a cause for concern. At this age, most babies can use gestures and follow simple commands. If your baby is not demonstrating any of these skills, it is essential to consult with their pediatrician for an evaluation. Early intervention is crucial in addressing any developmental delays and supporting a child’s overall development.

In summary, pointing is a significant milestone in a baby’s development that plays an essential role in communication and social interaction. Most babies start pointing between 9-12 months of age, but every child develops at their own pace. There are several ways you can encourage and support your baby’s pointing skills, but if you have any concerns about your child’s development, always consult with their pediatrician for guidance. Remember to celebrate each of your baby’s milestones and enjoy watching them grow and develop into unique individuals.

Q: What is the developmental age at which babies start pointing?
A: Most babies begin pointing between 9 and 12 months old, when their hand-eye coordination and communication skills have developed enough.

Q: Is pointing a milestone in a baby’s development?
A: Yes, pointing is considered an important milestone in a baby’s cognitive and social development. It indicates an understanding of specific objects and the ability to communicate with others.

Q: Can premature babies start pointing at the same age as full-term babies?
A: Every baby develops at their own pace, but premature babies may reach this milestone later due to their earlier birth date. Consult with a pediatrician if you are concerned about your premature baby’s developmental progress.

Q: How can I encourage my baby to start pointing?
A: You can encourage your baby’s pointing skills by actively engaging with them during playtime, using words like “look” or “see” while pointing to objects, and responding positively when they point to something.

Q: Why is it important for babies to learn how to point?
A: Pointing is an essential form of communication for babies before they can speak. It allows them to express their needs, wants, and interests, which helps foster social interaction and language development.

Q: Can a delay in pointing indicate a developmental delay or disorder?
A: Delayed pointing can sometimes be a sign of a developmental delay or disorder. Consult with your child’s pediatrician if your baby does not show any signs of pointing by 14 months old. Early intervention can help address any underlying issues.

In conclusion, the age at which babies begin pointing is a significant milestone in their development, and the ability to point accurately and purposefully is a crucial indicator of their cognitive and social development. While there is no specific age at which all babies will start pointing, it typically occurs between 9-14 months. Various factors such as cultural differences, individual differences, and environmental stimulation can have an impact on when a baby starts pointing.

Through pointing, babies are able to communicate their needs, desires, and interests to others. It also serves as the foundation for later skills such as language development and social interactions. As caregivers or parents, it is important to encourage and support this developmental milestone through positive reinforcement and providing opportunities for engagement.

Additionally, understanding the various types of pointing behaviors can help us better understand our babies’ communication abilities and needs. The different types of pointing can include declarative pointing (intent to share information) or imperative pointing (intent to request). Recognizing these differences can aid in fostering effective communication between babies and caregivers.

Overall, knowing what age do babies point is important for monitoring child development and promoting healthy social interactions and communication skills. It is essential to remember that every baby develops at their own pace, so it is crucial not to compare them with others but instead

Author Profile

Lian Chikako Chang
Welcome to Littldata! Our mission is to help parents streamline their family logistics with practical tools and insights. Whether you’re managing school schedules, extracurricular activities, or family outings.

Littldata offers an array of calendars, maps, lists, and spreadsheets designed to simplify your life. Our content is deeply rooted in research, ensuring that you have access to reliable and data-driven information.

Hi, I’m Lian Chikako Chang. I’m a data researcher and mom living in San Francisco. At Littldata, my goal is to help parents figure out their family logistics by sharing calendars, maps, lists, and spreadsheets–as well as research-backed blog posts and data graphics.

From 2024, I have embarked on a new journey of writing an informative blog on the “Littldata” niche.

In this blog, I strive to provide valuable insights and answer queries on topics that parents frequently seek out. My focus is on creating content that is not only practical but also backed by thorough research.