10 Ways to Help Kids Boost Cognitive Development
Meaning of Cognitive Development
Cognitive development means how children think, explore and figure things out. It is the development of knowledge, skills, problem solving and dispositions, which help children to think about and understand the world around them. Brain development is a crucial part of cognitive development.
Children’s brains develop rapidly from between their birth through three years. Brain development affects all areas of a child’s growth. There are four main areas of development in children: motor (physical), language and communication, social and emotional, and cognitive. Cognitive development describes how a child’s intellect grows, and includes critical thinking, learning and problem-solving skills. These skills affect all other areas of development in the body.
The first three years of a child’s life are critical for learning and cognitive development. Many parents ask how they can help their child’s brain develop. The best way is to actively engage your child through everyday activities like playing, reading and being there when they feel stressed.
10 Ways to Boost Cognitive Development in Children
Sing songs with your child and encourage him to sing along with you. Play their favourite songs and music in the house and car regularly and they may eventually start singing along by themselves. This activity helps promote memory and word identification.
2. Identify Noises
Have your child identify noises that they hear throughout the day (i.e. a bird singing, a car horn, running water or the dishwasher). They will begin to understand how sounds relate to objects in their everyday environment.
3. Practice the Alphabet
Help your child identify letters by singing along to the “Alphabet Song,” reading books about the alphabet and playing with alphabet puzzles.
Here is an example of an easy game to help your child learn their letters:
- Cut out individual squares that feature each letter of the alphabet written in bright colors.
- Mix them up and tape them on various surfaces in the house.
- Go through the alphabet with your child and encourage him to search around the house to find the next letter and tape it to the wall in order.
- When finished, leave the alphabet letters in order up on the wall until you’re ready to play the game again.
4. Practice Counting
Identify opportunities throughout the day to practice counting. Count the number of shoes in your child’s closet when they get dressed or the number of slides on the playground when you go to the park. You may soon find that you’re counting everything!
5. Practice Shapes and Colors
Identify shapes and colors when interacting with your child. You can say, “That is a round, blue ball,” when playing in the park or “That sign is a red octagon” when pulling up to a stop sign. As they get older, you can ask them to describe objects to you.
6. Offer Choices
When you can, offer your child choices: “Would you like to wear the brown shorts or the blue shorts?” or “Would you like to eat roti or rice for lunch?” This will help them feel more independent and learn to make confident decisions that affect their day.
7. Ask Questions
Another way to help your child learn to think for themself is to ask them questions: “Which toy should we pick up first when we clean up the living room? Or “Why is it important to walk down the stairs slowly?” Asking them questions helps them learn how to problem solve and better understand how their environment works.
8. Visit Interesting Places
Take trips to your local children’s museum, library or farmer’s market to stimulate your child’s curiosity and provide them with “hand on” experiences. Ask them questions while you explore and listen to their responses and reactions. These adventures can provide a learning experience for both of you!
9. Play with Everyday Items
Playing with everyday household items is educational, fun and cost effective. Encourage your child to match various-sized lids to their accompanying pots or have them look in a mirror and point to their nose, mouth, eyes, and other parts of their body.
10. Offer a Variety of Games
Play a variety of games with your child to encourage problem solving and creativity. If your child is younger, the two of you can build blocks and play “Peek-a-Boo.” As they get older, you can engage them in board games, puzzles and play “Hide and Seek.”
In this article, we discovered ways by which we can boost cognitive development of a child in their early years of development. For instance, if our kids need to have a strong grasp of language we could concentrate on phonemic awareness early on. If we want them to improve at math and science we could engage them in numerical games and activities early on. Perhaps most importantly, we no longer think of brains as empty vessels waiting to be filled up with knowledge but as adaptable organs that develop all the way through early adulthood!