Cognitive development is the overall growth of the brain. Which, between the years of 0-3, a human brain does the most growth. From day one, a baby’s environment is like the Titanic to James Cameron. There is an endless world for baby to discover and their brain’s are hungry. This is why babies are watching your every movement, listening to your every word, and putting every piece of lint from the floor in their mouth.
Cognitive development grows as the following skills are presented.
- Problem Solving
How can you foster cognitive development?
- Allow baby to explore surroundings in various positions: holding, propped up, tummy time, on back, in a stroller on a walk, through baby wearing, anything! By switching up positions, baby is getting a new look at the environment.
- Follow baby’s lead, it’s about the process not the product. If baby wants to gnaw on a rattle instead of shake it, or put a bucket on his head instead of put shapes inside, let them! Just go with it. When a baby is happy playing, he is learning. If you are forcing a hand print flower craft from Pinterest and your little one isn’t into it, chances are, you are both going to end up in tears, and with paint everywhere. Let her smear the paint on the paper, cut out flower shapes later. She’ll have fun, enjoy the sensory experience, and maybe learn she doesn’t like the taste of paint.
- Turn everyday routines into playful experiences –splashing in the tub, wiggle baby when mixing dinner, stopping to observe sounds on a walk. Baby is gaining valuable information about her surroundings. When a loud truck goes by, tell her about it. When you are about to turn on the vacuum, prepare her. Each time, she’ll be more aware of the sights and sounds of her environment. Eventually be able to label them, imitate them, and describe them.
- Repetition – Do it over. And over and over again. And again. Whether it is a book, a song, a game, a silly noise, or a funny face. You are creating memories and expectations. REPETITION IS HOW BABIES LEARN. When a newborn cries what do you do? You pick them up, change their diaper, feed them. And they cry again, and you do it again. They are learning that you are their person. You help them when they’re in need. It’s the initial repetition game, although, it’s not a game, it’s life. And as they grow, when they drop their cup on the ground and you pick it up. They do it again. They’re learning cause and effect. Same goes for “Say Dada/Mama”. You say it over and over again until you hear that first word.
- Fingerplays: Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Patty Cake, and Peekaboo, pair movements with words and rhymes. When sounds and movements are coordinated, multiple areas of the brain are stimulated, increasing neural connections, ie: more brain power!
- Modeling: What you see is what you get. Babies have no other option other than to learn from what is in front of them. Show your child how to play. Shake a rattle, knock down blocks, push a toy car, clap hands, roll a ball. In addition, think of all the things your baby is observing. Pictures on television, words in a conversation, your mannerisms, how you treat others. Be the person you want your child to be.