Long before Kindergarten, before preschool and even before the first pair of pull-ups goes on, there is a barrage of events taking place in the area of cognitive development. One doesn’t simply go into a classroom and immediately assimilate all the pieces of knowledge required for reading, or understanding math concepts, or for being able to achieve and maintain self-control. In this article we’re going to take a look at some processes that occur naturally and some of the infant stimulation activities that can assist these processes that lay the groundwork for specific areas of cognitive development.
Just by watching mother or father’s face, hearing soothing word sounds and having the sensations internalize kick-start the initial process of acquiring language. Soft songs, rhythmic rocking and a pleasant experience seal in these moments. Babies express their needs and feelings through sounds and cries, body movements, and facial expressions. Your baby will begin using words sometime around 1 year. By the time she is 3, she will be speaking in short (3-5 word) sentences. To assist in language development at this stage, you can watch and listen to the ways your baby communicates what she is thinking and feeling. When you hear her making sounds, words or parts of words, repeat the sounds and develop a back and forth communication, having a sort of conversation. Reading, even when she doesn’t completely understand the words, and singing together give your child the additional chances to understand the meaning of new words and ideas. After you go on a trip, play or do any activity, articulate to your baby just what has happened.
Critical Thinking skills
The best way to develop critical thinking skills in your infant are by three methods…play, play, play. Through play your baby discovers cause and effect relationships, how things work, what produces the outcomes that she enjoys and many problem-solving situations are created. To round out each experience, ask open-ended questions such as: “Why do you think the tower fell over?” There is no wrong or right answer, in fact with your infant you do not expect an answer, but it is believed that the perception of language comes into being far before the expressive language is mastered. In other words it is believed that your baby understands before she can speak herself.
No lesser than the above skills are the ability to achieve and maintain self-control, and to develop self-confidence. There are many important goals to be achieved in the first few years of life such as managing feelings in acceptable ways by learning to wait, to share, problem solve and (perhaps most importantly) understand that she is unique. She is love, smart, fun and capable.
Often all that is required for the very young to adapt to frustrating situations is to have the words given to them so that what they feel is expressed. An example would be: “I understand that you’re very sad that your friend needs to go home now. You really like your time together and there will be another time very soon.” If you can remain serene during your child’s stressful times, it is very reassuring and helps her regain composure more quickly. Calmness and soothing words make an uncomfortable situation seem much less threatening.
Self-confidence can be facilitated by remembering the positive-negative rule. If it is positive, give it your full attention. If it is negative, give it the least amount of attention required to maintain safety and no more. When a child feels she is viewed as competent and capable it colors the entirety of the learning experience.
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