What is Cognitive Devemlopment in Childeren? How to Support it
The development of mental activities that enable the individual to perceive, understand and interpret the world around him is called ‘cognitive development‘.
Cognitive development begins when the child is exposed to new stimuli and experiences from birth. Encountering stimuli, the child neurologically establishes a network system in the brain. These networks are ”synapses” and ”synaptic” connections. As the number of synaptic connections increases, brain development continues rapidly
Children’s physical development as well as their mental development is very important. Cognitive development can also be defined as progress in thinking and comprehension. Within these mental activities, the individual has skills such as perception, understanding, remembering, language development, attention, remembering, thinking, problem solving and speaking. With these skills, the child makes sense of the world and makes some inferences.
The games and toys chosen according to your child’s age and skills should support their cognitive development. Creating a rich environment that stimulates the child affects his / her development positively.
How to Support Cognitive Development ?
When you play games with your child, the sentences and words you use in games have a significant impact on this process. For example, the use of place-direction words such as up-down, under-above, in-outside has a positive effect on the cognitive development of infants.
The guidelines affect your child’s development. During the game, questions such as ”Can you hand me the pink piece? ”, Can you give me the car under the truck? This will improve his ability to compare, judge and make inferences.
What Can You Do?
You can model your child in the games you play. Individuals learn many things through modeling. In particular, infants acquire some behaviors and attitudes through modeling from their parents. You can show your child playing with cube blocks to build a tower and then expect him to build a tower. Of course, it is also important that you support, encourage and, in some cases, assist him.
You can teach some concepts through games. You can make contrasting concepts like small-big, hot-cold, color concepts like yellow, blue, pink, place-direction concepts more fun through games. For example, two coarse, one hot and one cold can fill some water and leave the toy car inside. You can ask your child to give you the car in cold or hot water. In this way, your child’s cognitive development will be supported by tactile arousal, as it will have to remember which water is cold or which water is hot.
You can spend time with the books you choose according to your child’s age. If the child is preschool, you can choose colorful, textured (serrated, soft, slippery) picture books. You can try to create a story yourself through the drawings in these books. In this way, you can make a positive contribution to its cognitive development with its creative thinking skills.
Nurture your child’s sense of curiosity and provide answers to the questions they ask, to the extent that they can understand and satisfy them.
Be with him in different environments. Visiting a museum, going to the cinema and going to the theater will also support his development. These and some other recommendations will both strengthen the attachment feeling between you and your child and support your child’s cognitive development.