Cognitive development is one of the most important things that parents can help their children with. It is the process by which children learn to think, reason, and remember. This process starts from birth and continues into adulthood.
While there is so much we don't know about the development of intelligence in our children (the nature-nurture argument is still alive and kicking), most parents and experts agree that in order to give a child the best start in life, we should be supporting and stimulating their cognitive development.
There are many different ways that parents can support their children's cognitive development. In this article, we will explore five of them.
1. Providing a Stimulating Environment
One of the best things that parents can do to support their children's cognitive development is to provide them with a stimulating environment. This means an environment that is full of interesting things to see, touch, and hear. It should be safe and nurturing, but also full of opportunities for learning.
There are many different ways that parents can create a stimulating environment for their children. One way is to fill the home with books, puzzles, and toys that are appropriate for the child's age and development stage. Another way is to get out into nature and explore the world together. This can be done by going for walks, visiting the park, or even just playing in the backyard.
Getting an age-appropriate environment for your little one is half the battle.
Ensuring that it is going to appeal to your little one is the other half. As a parent, you know your child's preferences, what they like and dislike, where they're happiest. Use this to help feed their growing brain with just what it needs to thrive.
We at Meland have a few suggestions of products that can really help build a stimulating environment for your little one.
- A tent or pretend play set from our wide range of quality play sets
- A vanity + mirror or a princess outfit from our wide range of quality dress up sets
2. Talking, Reading, and Singing to Your Child
Another great way to support your child's cognitive development is through language. This means talking, reading, and singing to your child on a regular basis. Exposure to language is one of the most important things that children need in order to develop strong cognitive skills.
When you talk to your child, use clear language. Describe what you're doing, explain what you're seeing, and answer any questions that your child has.
Attach language to gestures too. You don't need to go so far as miming out what you're saying, but simple gestures can clarify new words much quicker than longer explanations.
Avoid using baby talk, as this can actually delay your child's language development.
In fact, exposing your child to normal conversation - say, during dinner with the whole family, is a great way to ensure a wonderful vocabulary when they're older.
Reading to your child is also very important. This can be done from birth, even if your child doesn't seem to be paying attention. Just the sound of your voice and the exposure to language will help them to develop strong cognitive skills.
Often children will want to hear the same story over and over again (certainly enough times to test the patience of any parent!).
This is just one of the ways a kid learns. Repetition is brilliant not only for vocabulary, but also for sentence construction and grammar.
Singing to your child is another great way to support their cognitive development.
Songs are a great way to help children learn new words and concepts. We know so many parents of very young kids who find themselves constantly singing to their kids - even to the point that when they're back at the office from maternity leave, they're still mindlessly singing away!
Little songs, nursery rhymes, ballads, really anything (age appropriate) is a great way to introduce language and music to your little one.
3. Playing Games Together
Playing games together is another great way to support your child's cognitive development. Games can help children to develop important skills such as problem solving, memory, and concentration. They are also a great way to bond with your child and have fun together.
There are many different types of games that you can play with your child. Some great options include board games, card games, memory games, and puzzles. It is important to choose games that are appropriate for your child's age and development stage.
Older kids might want to come up with games themselves. A perfect way to spend a rainy spring day is to make your own board game. Get out the arts and crafts set!
4.Encouraging Imagination and Creativity
Encouraging imagination and creativity is another great way to support your child's cognitive development.
When children use their imaginations, they are using their cognitive skills to create something new. This is a very important process for developing strong cognitive skills.
There are many different ways that you can encourage your child's imagination and creativity. One way is to provide them with open-ended materials such as art supplies, blocks, and dolls. Another way is to give them opportunities to tell stories, make up songs, or act out skits.
A final way we recommend encouraging creativity is through pretend play. Check out our blog here for tips on great ways to encourage pretend play with your kids.
5. Helping Your Child to Develop a Growth Mindset
One of the most important things that parents can do to support their children's cognitive development is to help them develop a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed through effort and practice. This is a very important belief for children to have, as it will encourage them to keep trying even when they find something difficult.
There are many different ways that you can help your child develop a growth mindset.
One way is to praise them for their effort, rather than their intelligence. Another way is to encourage them to keep trying when they find something difficult. You can also help them to see mistakes as learning opportunities.
While growing up, children will experience many frustrations. These can come from a lack of abilities to do something they want to, or simply not being allowed to do something as they're too young. It's important you speak with you children about frustrations as they encounter them. Help them to understand what's causing their frustration and how they can get through it.
By following these tips, you can help your child develop strong cognitive skills that will last a lifetime.