Kids will grow up in the blink of an eye straight from early childhood to their developmental years as teenagers, but during that period of time is when the magic happens. Watching your child grow emotionally as well as mentally, and not just physically, makes you proud as a parent and builds fond memories. Discover what you can do to improve cognitive growth in preschool kids and find what the four main stages of cognitive development in kids are.
What is Cognitive Development?
Cognitive development involves the development of thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, and creative skills. A whole-brain cognitive growth means that your child develops intellectually and emotionally. According to renowned psychologist Jean Piaget, kids are found to be as smart as adults, the only other variation being in their thinking patterns.
Contrary to common opinion, kids do not suck up knowledge like a sponge and seek to understand the world around them. Their understanding and experience evolve and strengthen as a result of cognitive growth.
Stages of Cognitive Development in Kids
Throughout every stage of your child’s development, many changes occur in terms of cognitive growth. Once your child comes into the world, he/she is going through the four key stages of cognitive growth mentioned below:
1. Sensorimotor Stage
At this point, children, through their motor senses, soak in the stimuli and experiences of the world. Gladly they have been through life and enjoy their surroundings to the full, developing especially through object manipulation and touch. That’s when their senses get triggered as they keep making sense of sensory perceptions and gaining awareness of their environment.
2. Preoperational Stage
The duration from two and seven years of age is called the Preoperational Period. This is the stage where children are not capable of making sense of meaning but are capable of understanding images and symbolic representations. Simply put, this is when they understand visually and begin to take form through their memory, imagination, and creativity. Children usually don’t grasp others’ opinions and that is when they start picking up common language terms.
3. Concrete Operational Stage
Kids begin to gain knowledge of their environment and understand the emotions of others between the ages of 10 and 11. It is where cognitive growth begins when they begin to be conscious of the feelings of others to understand the external environment. Abstract and hypothetical thought remains a problem, but from this point on, the foundations of rational thinking and analysis begin to develop.
4. Formal Operational Stage
The time from twelve to adulthood is known as the Formal Operational Period. This is when children start developing their logical thinking skills further and learning abstract thinking and concepts. During these years, systematic planning and the problem-solving of logical problems eventually occur in the brain.
Ways to Develop Cognitive Skills in Kids
There are a few ways you can improve cognitive development in kids. Here are a few tips for better early childhood cognitive development:
1. Alphabet Game
Cut out alphabet pieces and tape them to different areas of your home. Ask your child to go searching by alphabet and sequentially locate the missing pieces. To encourage word recognition and image comparisons, let him/her collect the forms and tape them in sequence while singing along fun tunes relevant to these letters.
2. Identify Noise
Teach your child to recognize and differentiate between different sounds in the word. If it’s a bird singing, running water, or grinding a dishwasher, ask your child to recognize sounds and link them to events or behavior relevant to his daily life.
3. Count Objects
Teach your child to count items, fruits, shoe pairs, and anything that floats your boat. When practicing counting, they develop their critical thinking skills. You can make it even more enjoyable by asking how many chocolates they want on their birthday or how many places to visit during weekends! Make them count, give them the names to practice, and they will memorize!
4. Decision Game
Offer your kids delicious treats and ask them to pick between the various flavors available.
- Would they prefer to eat pizza or a burger?
- Would they prefer playing computer games at a friend’s house to go to the park?
- A red jacket or brown overcoat?
By giving choices to your child, you can make them feel confident and encourage freedom of thinking and expression, thereby encouraging their cognitive development.
5. Outing And Trips
Take your kid outdoors and visit places, the amusement park, etc. Make your kid embark on adventures outdoors and have fun. Let him/her free in the yard, capture bugs, go looking for insects, and quench their interest by asking outdoor event-related questions. Museum tours and shopping at grocery stores are great ideas too.
6. Play Fun Games
By pairing lids with pots as per shapes, colors, and container-types to play jigsaw and board games with kids, playing fun games that encourage social bonds and reasonable interactions helps develop key cognitive skills in areas of their minds. You also might let them play computer games once in a while to bring a twist to normal stuff! Our recommended game suggestions are outdoor games like ‘Peek-a-boo’ and ‘Hide and Seek’
Educate a sport to your kids, and show them how to do it. Exercises release endorphins and give them a good feel. Plus, it benefits their wellbeing and improves learning in coordination and fine motor skills. Alongside dexterity and sensory development, imaginative activities like dancing and scavenger hunts outdoors foster rational and innovative thinking.
8. Question Asking
Ask your child questions about making everyday choices. Asking makes the child think and encourages them to better resolve issues. This also makes them understand the workings of their surroundings.
9. Singing Song
Ask your child to join in singing. This encourages the growth of memory and creates connections among words and images.
10. Practice Shapes
Playing balls and fun with your child in colorful games that include manipulating shapes like Lego blocks or pieces of the puzzle. As your child grows slowly, ask him/her to speak about nearby objects, and describe their colors and proportions.
So, these are 10 ways to improve the cognitive development of kids.
Ensure you promote a happy and loving atmosphere at home that promotes learning and having fun. When children are relaxed, engaged, and happy they learn more easily. Time flies as they keep learning and rising.
Being a parent is really an exciting time when you see your child developing from a fetus to a teenager and beyond. Make learning your kid a delightful experience, and inculcate a love of learning and much more. Since growing up into adults they will surely thank you when you witness their successes and hands-on milestones, later in life.
Also Read: Tips On Personality Development For Children