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Role of Parents in Cognitive Development

How much of your child’s intelligence is predetermined, and how much can you influence? The findings of several studies are consistent, positive, and convincing in demonstrating that the cognitive development of a child is linked to parental involvement.

Cognition comes from the Latin word cognitio, which means “getting to know” . The process of thinking and learning is referred to as ‘Cognition’.

Cognitive development is the way in which a person perceives, thinks, and understands his or her surroundings, as a result of the interaction of genetic and learned factors. Information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory are all areas of cognitive development.

The holistic grooming of a child is linked to the Emotional Quotient. A child’s attachment to his or her parents and emotional security have a direct impact on cognitive performance.This is why parental support is absolutely essential for the proper cognitive development of a child.

Parental Role in Different Stages of Cognitive Development

There are many different types of cognitive skills and complex thought processes ; children develop them during different phases of life.

French psychologist Jean Piaget was the one who developed a Cognitive Development Theory. He classified children’s cognitive development into four stages, demonstrating how they progressed to more advanced thought patterns as they grew older.

1. Sensorimotor Stage (birth-2 years)

Engage in Parentese — a kind of speech in which an adult communicates with a baby in an exaggerated and repeated manner. Respond to your baby’s chattering with pleasant vocalisations.

Allow them to utilise toys as tools. Mouthing a toy, shaking, stacking, and slotting toys teach kids about features of different objects, like size, form, texture, colour, movement in space, and so on. Allow children to experiment and learn in a safe environment. Also share in their excitement at discovering something new.

Build your child’s vocabulary- Involve your kid in meaningful conversations, read to them, and provide adequate verbal stimulation. This would ensure that they do not have a word gap when they start schooling.

2. Preoperational Stage (2–7 years)

This stage is called pre-operational thinking because it occurs before children actually learn to apply operational reasoning.

Enable development of ‘Theory of Mind’ — this implies a knowledge of one’s own and other people’s mental and emotional conditions. This is a key social skill that allows children to interact better with others.

Encourage imaginary play. This would need them to comprehend other people’s points of view and, as a result, expand their understanding of human emotions. You can also attempt simple role-playing activities. Similarly, storybook reading will also enable your child to become more conscious of human behavior.

3. Concrete Operational Stage (7–12 years)

Develop logical thought processing- Encourage your child’s development of hypothetical thinking, cause-and-effect relationships, problem framing-solving , and social interactions.

Simple scientific demonstrations at home involving laws of motion, electricity, magnetism, and chemical properties of matter will not only increase their knowledge of the world, but will also enhance their cognitive structures.

Participate in collaborative activities with your child , as a parent. In order to develop generalisations and principles from these experiences, ask them questions. For example, you may assist them in deducing grammatical rules by offering a number of phrases and asking them to list their observations.

4. Formal operational stage (12 years and older)

The period between the ages of 12 and 18 is termed as ‘Adolescence’. Kids and teens in this range engage in more complicated reasoning. This is often referred to as formal logical operations. This involves being able to- Perform abstract reasoning, analysing the well-known principles, and considering different points of view.

You can foster positive and healthy cognitive development in your teen by doing the following:

Include them in conversations about a wide range of subjects, concerns, and current events ; and also encourage them to share their views and ideas with you. Have healthy debates on various topics.

Motivate them to think independently and come up with their own ideas.

Assist your kid with goal-setting. Understand their area of interest and help them develop their skills. Challenge them to think about the various possibilities of the future.

Never compare them or their abilities with other children of the same age.

Compliment and appreciate your kid for making well-thought decisions. Assist him or her in re-evaluating poor judgments.

Become a Mindful Parent

A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their strongest support for the rest of their lives. As a coach, the parent exposes their kid to age-appropriate challenges for fostering growth, as well as experiences that allow the kid to explore on their own and learn through interacting with their surroundings.

The intellectual ability of a child is determined by both heredity and environment. Kids learn from what is practiced and not from what’s preached. So, you’ve got to be cautious about your acts as your child both absorbs and observes from you more than the external world! While genetic inheritance cannot be changed, parents can help their children develop sound cognitive structures by providing a stimulating learning environment and a variety of experiences from a young age.

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