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Is being able to point important? What if your toddler’s not pointing with the index finger? Should you be worried? Pointing is indeed one of the many milestones of a child’s development. However, some children skip it altogether and some are just late bloomers.
Pointing is an important milestone, but because all children develop at a different pace, skipping it does not mean something is wrong with your child. Some studies indicate that not pointing by the time a child is 12-15 months old may be a marker for autism. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. In fact, some kids point a little later or use another gesture to communicate what they want, and they develop normally.
Understand Toddler Pointing: Index Finger Milestone
There are many milestones children achieve during the course of growing up. But while some achieve each one, others appear to skip a few. Understandably, this can cause worry among parents. Is pointing an important milestone, then? It is, because it’s a child’s way of drawing attention to something. It’s a way of communicating and developing social skills. It’s also a good way for parents to know when something has caught their toddler’s fancy. When a child points at something, parents talk about it and explain to their child what it is and give it a name. This leads to building of the vocabulary and speech.
However, if you’ve noticed that your 12-month old baby does not point with the forefinger, there’s no cause for alarm. He may be using other means of communication. There are also a few things you can do to try and get your child to point.
Show by Example
When communicating with your child, point to different things. If you’re in the supermarket, point to show him the different things around. If you are reading to him, point out different things in the book.
Play pointing games with your toddler. Point to different body parts, point out colours and point out things in the sky. You can try finger painting with your child too. Kids love getting messy and this is a good opportunity to take to help him use his index finger.
Pop bubbles with your toddler using your index finger. All children love bubbles and will be eager to learn this way. Point to them as you blow and pop them with your forefinger. Keep talking to your child as you do it.
Point Whenever You Can
One of the best ways to get kids to learn is to repeat something. Point at things even when you aren’t talking to your child, but you know he’s around and observing you. Children follow by example and absorb what they see around them.
Most children start pointing to objects on their own from the age of 12 to 15 months. Younger siblings generally develop certain skills quicker, because they emulate their older siblings. However, if your toddler is not pointing with the forefinger by 15 months and not making any gestures by 12 months, consult your paediatrician.
Remember that each child is different. Some even skip the pointing milestone and it doesn’t make them autistic. Have you experienced something similar with your toddler?