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Children's cognitive development varies from one another. However, there are certain things that can be a general description that marks a child's cognitive development at each age
Cognitive development refers to the stages of a child's ability to gain meaning and knowledge from the experiences and information he gets. Cognitive development includes the process of remembering, problem solving, and also decision making.
Children's Cognitive Development Stages
Sometimes parents pay more attention to physical development than children's cognitive development. In fact, cognitive development is no less important than physical development.
Therefore, it is important for parents to recognize the stages of their child's cognitive development. Below are some things that you can observe as a parent regarding the cognitive development and psychological condition of your child:
Age 0–3 months
The first three months of a child's life are very amazing stages. The main developmental milestones of children at this age are centered on the exploration of the five senses and the surrounding environment. During this period, most babies begin to show developments as below:
- See objects more clearly within 30 cm.
- Start to focus on moving object.
- Recognizing sweet, s alty, bitter, and sour tastes.
- Detects the difference in pitch and volume of speech.
- See all colors in the human visual spectrum.
Age 3–6 months
Starting from the age of 3–6 months, a child's perception begins to develop. During this period, most babies begin to show developments as below:
- Recognizing the faces of family members.
- Responding to other people's facial expressions.
- Recognizing and responding to surrounding sounds.
- Start imitating other people's facial expressions.
Age 6–9 months
Entering the stages of development at the age of 6–9 months, babies usually begin to show the following developments:
- Understanding the difference between living and nonliving things.
- Recognizing differences in images with different number of objects.
- Starting to be curious about 'impossible things', like how can an object hang in the air.
Age 9–12 months
Along with his physical maturity, his cognitive development also matures. This is because the more mature physical development supports him to explore the world around him more deeply.
During this period, most babies are able to:
- Imitates gestures and some actions, such as clapping.
- Respond to something with gestures and voice.
- Likes to see picture books.
- Start trying to place one object into another, for example putting a toy in a basket.
Age 1–2 years
Physical, social and cognitive development of a child develops rapidly at the age of 1-2 years. In this period, children spend a lot of time observing the actions of adults.Therefore, it is very important for parents and caregivers to set an example of good behavior.
During this period, the child begins to show development:
- Understanding and responding to words.
- Remember the characteristics of an object and identify its similarities with other similar objects.
- Understanding when to use 'I' or 'you'.
- Imitating the actions and speech of adults.
- Learn about the environment by exploring it.
Age 2–3 years
In this age period, children are becoming more independent because they are able to explore their surroundings better.
This is the right age for children to be introduced to places where they can explore and impart knowledge, such as museums and zoos, because most of a child's learning during this stage is the result of his or her own experience.
The following is the cognitive development shown by children aged 2 to 3 years:
- Name objects by category, such as animals, flowers, and nearby objects.
- Imitating more complex adult actions, such as playing house, pretending to do laundry, or cooking.
- Responding to simple orders from parents.
- Match objects with their uses, for example a spoon to eat and a glass to drink.
Age 3–4 years
In this age period, children are increasingly able to analyze the world around them in more complex ways. Children also become more active in the learning process. In addition, they will also start asking various questions related to things around them.
Cognitive development shown by children aged 3-4 years include:
- Start actively looking for answers to his questions.
- Learn by observing and listening to instructions.
- Can arrange objects by size and shape.
- Understanding how to group and match objects according to their color.
- Frequently ask questions with the question word “why” to get information.
Age 4–5 years
As a child approaches school age, a child's ability to use sentences, imitate adult actions, count, and other basic activities matures.
The following is the cognitive development shown by children aged 4-5 years:
- Identifies more complex colors, such as navy blue and pink.
- Draw a person shape.
- Draw objects they often mention and describe.
- Count from 1 to 5.
- Know and tell where he lives.
How to Support Children's Cognitive Development?
The first five years of a child are the most important stage in the formation of his intellectual abilities. Most of the cognitive development of children is influenced by the closest family relationships, especially their parents. So, parents are in an important position in helping the formation of patterns of learning, thinking, and developing children.
At home, parents can help their children understand the world around them. For example, when a baby shows interest in an object, you can help your child to touch and observe the object.
As they get older, parents must also continue to stimulate their children to always be active in exploring the surrounding environment. Give your child the opportunity to organize and arrange his items, such as his books and toys.Practicing the ability to move and maintain a child's balance can also trigger better cognitive development.
Also, be patient when your child has a series of questions about everything around him. Parents can also ask questions to their children to hone their problem-solving skills.
Equally important, you must always ensure that your child's nutritional needs are met, starting from the need for protein, he althy fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, calcium, and iron.
Paying attention and honing children's cognitive development is important for every parent. But keep in mind, each child's developmental stage is different. So, you don't need to compare his development with other children. Just observe your child's development from day to day and make sure the stage of development is appropriate for his age.
However, sometimes assessing a child's ability is not as easy as theory. If you feel that your child's cognitive development is delayed or inappropriate, don't hesitate to ask the doctor for help and advice.