Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities used for thinking, studying and learning. It includes a wide range of mental processes essential in thinking, memory recall, and logic and reasoning skills. Parents play a key role in promoting cognitive skills in children. Toddlers need a lot of love and nurturing so that they are able to accomplish developmental tasks. However, parents need to be certain that as a child takes interest in his environment, he can do so in a safe manner.
Children during this stage are very eager to explore their surroundings. Parents need to provide the right stimulation, so that a child can develop his cognitive skills. Play is a big part of a toddler’s life. Thus, providing him age-appropriate toys are essential for his reasoning, thinking and memory skills. Providing him the right toys is essential because if a toy is too advanced, it may only frustrate a child. Ideal toys include building blocks, sorting and pounding toys, thick-paged picture books, and art materials. Choose pencils and crayons suited for little hands or for a toddler’s fisted grip. Moving toys are also recommended because it promotes eye –hand coordination.
Since establishing routines are ideal for this age, try to spend time with your child in doing a particular activity each day. The activity has to be short but stimulating because toddlers may not be able to sit for long periods of time. An example is by allowing your child to scribble on paper with crayons or pencil. You can also help him out in coloring a simple pattern on a coloring book. Always praise your child for his work, and provide reassurance whenever he feels frustrated. Try to modify the activity as time passes so that your child will not grow tired of doing it.
Reading to your child is also an ideal activity. Research has shown that children, whose mothers read to them daily, had better language comprehension, higher cognitive scores, and more expressive vocabularies. Other activities that may improve your child’s cognitive skills are singing songs, and playing pretend games. Play activities that involve classifying objects and recognizing patterns are also recommended.
Children learn quickly especially if they are given all the opportunities to explore. Parents can do a lot in order to help a child develop the skills needed during this stage. Toys need not be expensive, in order for it to be educational. Sometimes the most important thing for parents to do is to spend time with the child. Try to make each bonding moment a learning activity as well.
The growth and development of each child is different. Some children can be advanced while others may have a slow start. Parents should not push their children too hard, as to what they are capable of doing. While it may be good to have learning activities, too much stimulation may also not help a child at all. Children are wired differently, and parents need to be supportive, as they accomplish tasks in their own ways.