Help your young child’s cognitive development

Published on Friday, 3 March 2017 12:00 - Written by PATRICE DUNAGIN, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Parents may worry from time to time about their child’s development. As long as children are excited to learn, eager to question and ready to make sense of the world around them, they are on the right path for developing thought and memory. The process of learning, questioning and thinking is called cognitive development.

Cognitive development is all about learning, thinking, problem-solving and memory. It is about helping your child’s brain grow by building the skills they need for reading, writing and talking. Did you know, research shows that a child’s knowledge of the alphabet in kindergarten is one of the best predictors of what the child’s tenth grade reading ability will be?

There are several ways that you can help your child expand his or her cognitive development.

At 2 to 6 months:

- Hang a mirror above the crib or on the wall close to the floor so they can see their face and movements.

- Play with toys that make sound, they will learn that moving the toy will make the pleasant noise.

At 9 to 12 months:

- Give your child objects with different textures so they can use their senses by feeling the differences.

- Play games related to cause and effect, build a tower of blocks and then knock it down.

At 1.5 to 2 years:

Give your child different colored objects and have them sort them into groups by color.

- Let your child talk on the phone, brush their teeth, and use a spoon themselves. Doing these activities will also help you recognize your child’s dominant hand.

At 3 years:

- Let your child button or zip clothes, open doors with a handle, turn the pages in a book, and move different objects.

- Give your child outlines of simple shapes, and have them trace the shape with a crayon or pencil.

At 4 to 5 years:

- Read a book with your child and at the end of the book ask the child to retell what happened in the book.

- Encourage your child to complete crafts, at this age they can use scissors and draw a person with two to four body parts.

For more information, contact Patrice Dunagin, Smith County FCS agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, at 903-590-2980.