How To Develop Cognitive Skills In Your Child

how to develop cognitive skills in your child

Parenting is one of the most delightful as well as challenging experiences of our lives. It offers sheer joy of raising your little ones but comes with added responsibilities too. Knowing how to develop cognitive skills in your child is one of the most important duties you need to consider as a parent. To cope with the growing need of the world, a child needs to be interactive, intelligent, and intellectual. Taking care of a few things can ensure that the child is well-developed physically and mentally. But before knowing those few good parenting tips, let’s take a look at the definition of cognitive and motor skills. 

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What are cognitive skills?

Cognitive skills define how smart your brain works. Our brain uses these skills with its mental ability to perform daily activities such as learning, reading, remembering, reasoning and focusing. Cognitive skills often work together to retain the information and then use it whenever required at school or at home.  

Each cognitive skill is important for processing and remembering information. If a single skill is not honed, the entire knowledge processing may be disturbed. This is the reason why it is so important for parents to allow their children to develop cognitive skills from an early age. 

Some of the key cognitive skills include:

  • Long-term memory-it helps recall old information stored in our brain. Lack of this skill causes the child to forget names and other things they  used to know.
  • Working skills – it helps retain and process the information while doing a task. Lack of skill causes the inability to process multi-directions and not being able to remember what is being told.
  • Logic-it helps in applying reasoning to solve problems. Lack of logic creates problems in math and other analysis obstructions. 
  • Visual skills– these help in creating visual images in mind. Lack of visuality offers obstacles in following directions, reading, following map directions, etc. 
  • Attention– it helps a child stay focused on a subject for longer. Lack of attention can cause unfinished tasks and easy distractions. 

What is cognitive development? How To Develop Cognitive Skills In Your Child?

Cognitive development is how a child thinks and solves in their  life. It marks the development of knowledge, mental skills, problem-solving abilities, and dispositions. The child learns to adapt to the ways of the world through cognitive development. Unlike physical development, mental progress needs time and it is refined every day. Hence, this type of development is important as a part of healthy parenting tips even if the child has crossed the early stages of his life. Helping the child develop the ability to use the full functionality of the brain is an important part of parenting. When done sooner, it helps foster a strong base for a child’s success. They  can then achieve more in school and other areas of life. A research shows that children who can differentiate between sounds at 6 months of age are good at learning at 4 or 5 years of age. 

Cognitive development continues in a child till the age of 18. However, the growth cycle is different from 6 to 12 years and from 12 to 18. In the former phase of age, children develop the ability of thinking in several concrete ways. Such development centers around concrete objects and events. The child will learn to:

  • Devise out order (sorting, numbering, or alphabetizing)
  • Subtract
  • Divide
  • Combine
  • Transform objects
  • Transform actions
  • Convert  things such as meters into cms
  • Learn abstract thinking
  • Using and creating  new ideas and queries
  • Considering more than one point of view
  • Getting aware of the thinking process

Simple parenting tips for cognitive skills development

how to develop cognitive skills in your child
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay

Parents can play an important role in the cognitive development of a child. From talking to the little one about their  day at school to including them  in mindful activities, there is a lot that can be done. Here are a few effective parenting tips you may follow for the best results:

Reading

Reading is an exercise that comes with plenty of benefits. While parents can start by reading stories to their little ones, they can also make them learn how to read themselves. Reading encourages curiosity, helps develop vocabulary, assists in language learning, and allows the child to hear correct pronunciations. Some of the additional benefits of reading include:

  • Language pattern learning
  • Shapes learning
  • Visual learning skills
  • Writing skills
  • Memory sharpening
  • Listening skills
  • Fluent speaking

Indulging in Outside activities

How to develop cognitive skills in your child? Going outside for a picnic or a little gaming session helps enhance cognitive skills. Many believe that such physical activities are related to motor skills. But such is not the case. Outdoor playtime has been a good driving factor for children’s cognitive development as well. Open-air activities often stimulate multiple senses while encouraging imagination. And the idea is far better than indulging in screen time indoors. Outside activities expose the kids to new environments. Consequently, they learn to divert their mind from the same routine, learning new things with each field trip. Scheduling picnics to new places such as the zoo, fun parks, playgrounds, and museums also enhances mindfulness. 

Healthy interactions: A Great Parenting Tips

Due to our fast-paced lives, parents are now less involved in interacting with their children. However, if you follow regular talking and interaction sessions, your child’s cognitive skills can be improved rather quickly. The key benefit of talking is to allow the young one to learn the language. You can expose him to hearing language and he may start using it earlier than you expected. Always use grammatically correct language so that the child can converse with  it suitably. Every child learns to speak by actually imitating their parents. Talking to your child all the time will help make them more interactive. They  will gain the confidence to ask questions and share their views. 

Some of the best exercises to follow are:

  • Talking about their day at school
  • Talking about daily activities
  • Asking the child about best friends
  • Conversing about their likes and dislikes
  • Asking the child about their favorite things and places
  • Conversing regarding school teachers and mentors
  • Talking to the child by phone when you are away
  • Talking during daily activities such as bathing, brushing, eating, etc. 

Cognitive games

Cognitive games are basically thinking games that offer skill development for both adults and kids. The games such as card choosers, number puzzles, or zigzag games allow your child to think out of the box as they work to find solutions. The ability to think critically and strategically improves through these games.  The main benefit of this activity for parents is that they are free to choose any game as per the thinking process of the child. Once the child has perfected a game, parents can go for ones that enhance higher-order cognitive skills. Some additional skills that can be improved using thinking games include:

  • Cause and effect knowledge
  • Prediction
  • Summarizing ability
  • Reasoning
  • Problem-solving
  • Creative thinking
  • Devising solutions
  • Opinion formation
  • Deducing

Mindful activities

Children are a bunch of joy and packages of energy. They love to take part in various activities, be it indoors or outdoors. Instead of making them spend time on television or mobile phones, it is recommended for parents to help them get involved in various mindful activities. For instance, shape and color activities can let them develop remembrance and memory skills. 

A good piece of advice for parenting is to make up fantasy plays to help their children improve cognitively. These activities allow the child to use his creative sense of thinking. Igniting creativity leads to other cognitive skills improvement. As a parent, you need to offer an encouraging platform where creative activities can be organized. If you are not finding your home to be an ideal place, you can always take the child to an outdoor play area. 

Some of the most popular mindful activities for cognitive development include:

  • Learning shapes and colors
  • Music recognition
  • Dancing
  • Art projects
  • Straight-line walking 
  • Jumping games
  • Sand games
  • Clay molding activities
  • Puzzles
  • Hide and seek
  • Stimulation activities

Symbolic plays and movement

Movement is ideally a good activity for brain growth and stimulation. By allowing them to move their bodies actively from one place to another, parents can help develop neural pathways in children. This also increases vestibular movement effects which help in reading and writing. By movement, we do not mean shifting from one city to another. The movement here is characterized by making the child go from one room to another, or movement in a circular motion in a playground, etc. 

Movement helps develop gross and fine motor skills. It also assists in resting and re-energizing the brain of the child. 

Symbolic play is another important activity that can be nurtured by parents. It involves pretending with things and then suitably using them imaginatively. Parents can help their children learn the usage of objects by pretending. For instance, a child can be taught to use a phone using a simple cardboard box. This is a creative form of activity and requires parents to pay full attention to the children. Helping with intellectual development, symbolic play comes in handy for fostering curiosity and innovativeness in the child. Before indulging in symbolic play, make sure that you as a parent have plenty of free time for the younger ones. 

In a nutshell

As a parent, we love watching our children grow. But playing an important role in their growth is an unmatched satisfactory feeling. Following the above-given tips for good parenting, you can lead the foundation for a smart and successful personality for your child.  Always remember to spend time with your children and indulge in cognitive activity with a patient mindset. 

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