Children grow up fast. They turn from a helpless baby to a naughty preschooler in a blink of an eye! But in that blink, there is so much that happens inside your child’s mind!
Early childhood is the time when a baby grows not just physically, but also mentally. In fact, the initial years are the best time to boost your kid’s cognitive skills. Read on to know what is cognitive development in children and its 4 major stages.
What Are Cognitive Skills?
Cognitive abilities refer to a person’s memory, reasoning, problem-solving and thinking skills. The process starts in early childhood and continues throughout childhood.
It was psychologist Jean Piaget who first shed some light on the intellectual development of children. According to him, children are as intelligent as adults. The only difference is how they think. Even Albert Einstein was blown away by Piaget’s theory and said that only a genius could have thought of a theory so simple yet amazing as this!
Piaget came up with a theory that described the cognitive development of children. He referred to children as ‘little scientists’. According to him, children try to make sense of the world and do not soak up information passively.
[ Read: Ways To Improve Kids Memory ]
Stages Of Cognitive Development:
When it comes to child cognitive development, there are some stages each person goes through. Here are the major stages of cognitive development in children:
1. The Sensorimotor Stage:
2. The Preoperational Stage:
The period between ages two and seven years is the Preoperational stage, when a child learns to master a language. A child is unable to understand the concept of logic during this period and cannot control information. It is also the stage when a child is not capable of understanding the point of view of other people. (2)
3. The Concrete Operational Stage:
A child between the ages of eight and ten years begins to understand the nitty-gritty of mental operations. Logical thinking begins to take shape during this amazing stage. But abstract and hypothetical concepts remain a problem for children in this stage. (3)
4. The Formal Operational Stage:
The period between age eleven and adulthood is the time when children finally begin to grasp abstract concepts. Cognitive abilities such as logical thinking, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also take shape during this period. (4)
Cognitive Development And Early Childhood Education:
Early childhood usually refers to the period between birth and five years of age (5). A child begins to build basic cognitive skills such as pre-reading, language, vocabulary, and numeracy right from the time of birth. Even before babies can speak, they begin to develop a basic understanding of the language.
In fact, studies show a direct link between early exposure to education and the level of success one experiences as an adult (6). That is why it is important to expose young babies to stimuli that will help develop their cognitive abilities.
A child who can maneuver building blocks at the age of six months is more likely to develop good language skills by the age of two or three years. And the same child will be at a better position to start developing reading abilities between four and five years of age.
Tips To Help Your Child Develop Cognitive Abilities In Early Childhood:
Wondering how to help your baby improve physical and cognitive development in early childhood? Look no further! Here is a handy guide to help you along.
1. Building Blocks:
Let your baby have fun with building blocks. Babies as young as six months old can learn to use these blocks and slowly build their cognitive skills.
[ Read: Brain Gym Exercises For Kids ]
When your baby is a little older, you can introduce her to puzzles! It is a great way to develop her problem-solving skills.
3. Flash Cards:
You can use flash cards to help your child learn her letters as well as to understand the concept of cause and effect.
4. Numerical Fun:
You can use regular household items to help your baby develop her numeracy skills. Bottle caps, books, vegetables – everything can help her learn counting!
Yes, your baby cannot read yet. But you can read to her! So grab an age-appropriate book and spend some time reading to her. It will not just help your little one develop her language skills, but will also help you bond better!
6. Sing Together:
Does your kid have a favorite song? Then sing it together! If she is still to develop a love for music, simply play some music around the house. Sing a song, and ask your baby to sing along! You can do the same thing in the car too. A great way to improve her memory and word identification!
7. Work On Shapes And Colors:
Help your baby identify shapes and colors. You don’t need special tools for this activity! Point to her ball and say ‘that is a red ball. The ball is round’. Easy, wasn’t it? You can use any object around the house to teach your baby shapes and colors.
8. Give Choices:
Planning to go out for dinner? Here’s a great opportunity to develop your baby’s cognitive skills! How? Just ask her ‘do you want to wear the blue dress or the red one?’ It is a great way to teach her how to identify colors!
[ Read: Fun Reading Activities For Kids ]
9. Talk And Ask Questions:
Once your baby is old enough, she’ll be doing the questioning. Until then, ask her questions. It can be something as mundane as ‘do you want to drink water?’ If she says yes, ask her ‘do you want to drink water in a cup or a glass.’ A simple activity, but it will help your child develop her problem-solving skills!
10. Take A Trip:
Take your kid to interesting places like the Museum, a local mall, or the zoo! Any place that offers stimulation is a great place for the development of cognitive skills!
With the right environment, you can give your baby a solid foundation for her remaining life. The best part is that you don’t need to spend thousands to give your baby an early start in cognitive development. Spend time talking to her, listen to some nursery rhymes together, or simply read to her – all of these easy steps can go a long way in building your kid’s cognitive abilities.
So, give your baby an edge! Start her education early!
How do you help your baby develop her cognitive abilities? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!
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