Are you aware that the primary cognitive development happens in the first 5 years of your child?
In simple words, Cognitive development refers to the ability of the mind to think and understand.
Earlier, it was believed that infants lack the ability to think and grasp.
That is why, parents and immediate family members would take the liberty of saying anything in front of the child.
But, nowadays thanks to science, there is proof that even inside the womb of the mother, the child is feeling, hearing and observing everything around.
“A child’s brain is way larger than an adult’s, for it can absorb anything without any effort.”
You would be surprised to know that your little bundle of joy understands and learns much more than you ever imagined.
In this post, you will learn about the overall cognitive development of your little one till five years of age and the activities that you as a parent could do to enhance this development further.
Cognitive Development in Your Child(0-5yrs)
Cognitive Development primarily involves information processing, reasoning, intelligence, memory development and language development.
Basics of Cognitive development
Cognitive development in the first phase involves basic reflex activities such as sucking and grasping. From birth till 2 years, the movements depend purely on the external stimuli which come from the surroundings.
During this phase, your baby is extremely ‘egocentric’ and refuse to accept anyone else’s opinion.
In this phase, your baby will use his sensory skills to learn about the objects around and eventually learn to manipulate those objects.
This stage is often referred to as the SENSORY STAGE.
By the end of 10 months or so, your baby will start registering the objects.
The objects get registered in his memory and if those objects are hidden then you would find your little one looking around for those objects.
(2 years – 5 years)
This phase is often referred to as the CRITICAL PHASE.
Here, your tiny toddler is transforming to a tiny little individual with a strong headed approach.
Your child’s vocabulary has developed a lot by the end of two years.
Yet, logical thinking needs to be developed further.
A very peculiar characteristic at this age is “ANIMISM.”
‘Animism’ is when your child starts believing that every object around is a living being like him.
For example, your child may often ask you “if a doll or soft toy is hurt after it fell down” or he may ask, “where is the teddy bear’s mom?”
Moreover, around this age, your kid often feels that what he or she believes to be right, is right for all and his perception of wrong, is wrong for all.
THIS MAKES THEM VERY STRONG HEADED AND DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH.
The primary cognitive development has happened by now and the child has his thought process and grasping in place.
Cognitive development for toddlers increases in leaps and bounds.
By 18 months a toddler has probably said his first words.
Soon his vocabulary will start to grow and he will start to string simple two-word sentences together.
As your toddler begins to say more and more complicated sentences, it becomes a good time to play some fun activities to help encourage your toddlers language development.
Activity no. 1
What is needed?
Just your imagination and a room
To help build vocabulary
This game is fairly simple.
Start by asking questions such as: “Show me all the things in this room that are white in colour”.
Toddlers start to verbally identify colours at around 24 months.
But they can generally identify and point to the colours earlier.
So depending on which stage your child is in, play the game accordingly.
If your child can verbally identify the colours then ask him to name the object which is white in colour.
If your child is still in the pointing stage then you can tell your child what the object is and help build his vocabulary.
Activity no. 2:
What is needed?
Whatever toys your toddler already has at home
To develop your toddlers verbal skills and help her use her imagination and creativity.
Take the basket and you and your child (and who ever else is playing) gets to put any 4 toys inside the basket.
Then each of you take turns and create a story involving all the toys in the basket. The parent should start first to help show the child how to use creativity.
Encourage the child when it is her turn with her story and try to get her to include all the toys so that her story is more elaborate, hence improving her verbal skills
Other activities to do with your toddler to improve cognitive development:
- Teach your toddler about different body parts by identifying them one at a time and ask her everyday to tell you where, for example her tummy is. Tickle her on her stomach or gently poke and point to her tummy while repeating the the word so that she can make the association between the word and the body part.
- Teach her how to count by telling her of a number every day and showing various objects of that number throughout the day. Increase the numbers as and when you think your toddler remembers the previous ones. For example show your toddler two spoons, two glasses, two slippers etc. until she can count up to two and then the next day show her three things of everyday objects and so on and so forth.
- To improve vocabulary play rhyming games by asking your toddler what rhymes with, for example ‘cat’, ‘tree’ etc.
Tips to help your child develop his cognitive skills
Here, are some very useful tips to help your child develop his brain faster:
Singing stimulates a lot of points in the brain.
Singing helps the brain to co-ordinate different muscles together at a time.
Just sing the favorite song of your child and encourage him to join you.
The more your child sings, that much more his brain gets stimulated.
Recognize the noises around
Identifying the noises around will help your child to memorize and understand his surroundings better. The sound of a door bell, car honking and bus passing by or chirping of a bird should be told to your child every day.
Teach your kid
Teaching your child new skills of reading alphabets, counting and coloring will help his mind to grow and develop well.
Reading books and stories will help him to broaden his perspective and to polish his imaginary skills further.
This is a very productive activity which often gets ignored by most parents.
Just 10 minutes of reading per day can make all the difference.
Physical activity of about two hours is a must for every child.
This physical activity should be planned by you in advance.
Activities like jumping, skipping and running are very good for the physical and mental development of your child.
Taking your kid to the park every day is a great idea.
Regular physical activity is must for a child at every stage.
It not only develops the fine motor skills of your child but also helps to develop the Cerebellum of the brain.
Physical activity also helps in building a good appetite of your child and keeps him healthy as well.
Proper sleep is the key to a good and healthy development of every child.
You should ensure that your child sleeps for the adequate number of hours recommended for his age.
A proper sleep ensures a proper physical as well as mental development of your child at every stage.
You need to ask a plenty of questions to your child.
Ask him questions pointing to a tree saying, “What is this?”
Ask him how do dogs bark or what sounds do cats make?
This will instill curiosity in your child which will then help him to learn things on his own. It will also stimulate the thought process of your child.
Playing indoor games like peek-a-boo, pointing to body parts in front of a mirror or building blocks helps the child to develop intelligence, understanding and grasping.
The more you play with your child, that much smarter he becomes.
Small kids are very curious and want to explore everything around.
They could see a whole new world in front of their eyes which they are ready to explore.
You might see them asking you a lot of questions all the time.
Some of those questions might not make any sense at all.
But, as a parent always try to answer their queries till they are satisfied with your answers.
This will boost their confidence and your child will learn and develop faster.
The first primary years are the most precious years of childhood.
Try and make the best out of it.
What your child learns now will remain with him forever and will form the basic principles of his life after he grows up.
Therefore, it is very important to invest your time and energies in the first five primary years of parenthood.
So, be an active participant in your child’s development and try to inculcate all good habits right from the beginning.
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