There are several ways you can improve children’s cognitive development either as a parent ,early years practitioner or as a child career as it’s important to foster children’s cognitive development at an early stage because doing so provides the foundation for their success in school and later in life, as research shows that children who can distinguish sounds at six months of age are better at acquiring the skills for learning to read at four and five years of age.
Below are the key words you should look out for in this article;
- What is cognitive development
- Ways to promote children cognitive development
- How to support children cognitive development
- Important of cognitive development in early childhood
What is cognitive development
Cognitive development encompasses a child’s working memory, as well as their ability to think, manage, figure out things, explore the world around them and respond to the experiences and information they experience on a daily basis. As cognitive development has to do with a child’s ability to think, it means their thoughts and actions could be influenced by whatever we as a parent, practitioners, caregiver expose their little minds towards. Thus its advice to positively influence their cognitive development.
Ways to promote children cognitive development
- Sing songs ; singing songs with children, regularly playing their favorite song will encourage them to start singing along thus promoting memory and word formation.
- Identify noises; helping children identify the noises they hear daily for example the noise of airplane, birds, cars, the shower, the blender in the kitchen will help them begin to understand how sounds relate to objects in their everyday environment.
- Practice alphabet; practicing the alphabets with children will help them identify the letters, for example you can read the alphabet letter to them, sing along the alphabet song and let them build alphabet puzzles.
- Practice counting; use every opportunity to make the children count for example, let them count the number of friends there are in the class, the number of toothbrushes in the cup, the number of plates and cups set on the dining table, the number of cars, scooter in the playground.
- Practice shapes and colors; identify shapes and color when interacting with children, for example you can say ‘its a blue square table’, or ‘ that’s a red round hula hoop’, be descriptive as much as you can when interacting with them and as they get older you can ask them to describe object to you.
- Offer choice; offer children choices, give them the option to decide on things for example you can say ‘would you like to wear a trouser or a shot, or would you like to play in the playground or action zone ? This will make them independent and more confident in making decisions that affect their everyday lives.
- Ask and answer their ’’ why’’ questions; another way to help children learn to think for themselves is to ask them questions , i.e ‘’why do you have to wash your hands after using the toilet? Asking question help them to learn how to solve problem also answer their ‘why’ question as this give them better understanding of their environment
- Visit interesting places; stimulate children’s curiosity and provide them with hands-on activities by taking them on trips to interesting places like zoos, museums, parks, ask them questions while you explore and listen to their response . This activity can provide a learning adventure for the both of you.
How to support children cognitive development
- Limit distractions; Limiting distractions and interruption help children to keep focus.
- Be interested; expressing interest in children activities help you to observe and reflect on what they are trying to do and this help you support them in whatever they may be trying to accomplish
- spark curiosity; spark curiosity in children by suggesting new things or ideas to them, for example you may ask them ‘’what do you think will happen if i pour some salt on this ice’’ or what color will be formed if i mix pink with blue ?
- Share joy with children as they show you their accomplishments, simply saying ‘wow that’s beautiful’ could go a long way in their little beautiful mind.
- Interesting materials; offer to children interesting materials that are challenging and at the same time possible
- Develop memory; Help children develop memory by maintaining the routine, arrangement and keeping toys where they know to find it. Also talk to children about what they did earlier in the day and the day before.
- Encourage problem solving; the little thing we do for children could improve their cognitive development if we allow them to do it themselves as these are challenges to them for example encourage the children to put on their own shoes, let them try brushing their hair, and teeth.
- Provide many opportunity for them to categorize ,compare and contrast, to sort and match with toys and activities.
Important of cognitive development in early childhood
- Cognitive development promotes children’s memory and word identification
- Builds children’s confidence and makes them independent.
- Cognitive development gives children a better understanding of their environment, and the world around them.
- Cognitive development builds children’s attention, as well as a child’s ability to manage and respond to the experiences and information they experience on a daily basis.
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