Your Baby’s Cognitive Development
Of all the various developments that your baby makes during his first few years, cognitive development is definitely one of the most important, as this is what he uses to make sense of the world around him. In this guide, we will cover this particular aspect and take a look at some of the strategies that you can use to help your kid through the various stages.
Understanding cognitive development
In simplest terms, cognitive development is the process by which your child’s senses develop and he starts to respond to the various stimuli around him. One of them ost prominent theories used by experts to better understand how cognition and intelligence develop in babies is the Piaget theory of cognitive development pioneered by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget.
In his theory, Piaget identified four major stages of cognitive development. These stages are:
1. Sensorimotor stage
In this first stage, which occurs from birth to 2 years old, your child’s five sense starts to develop, allowing him to perceive movement and other sensory stimuli. At this stage, children are egocentric, meaning they are not yet able to perceive the world from other viewpoints aside from their own.
2. Preoperational stage
This stage starts at the age of two and lasts until the age of seven. The stage is marked by the onset of speech. At this point, the child starts to gradually expand his knowledge through pretend play, though he is still not able to fully grasp the notion of different viewpoints. He is also not yet able to understand concrete logic and manipulate information in his mind.
3. Concrete operational stage
When your child reaches the ages of seven to eleven, he enters what is know as the concrete operational stage. At this point, your young one sheds much of the egocentrism present in the previous stages. They also begin to think in a more logical manner and their classification skills greatly improve.
4. Formal operational stage
The final stage in Piaget’s classification, beginning at age eleven. Here, your child has all the cognitive skills he needs. At this point, he also begins developing abstract thought. Abstract thought is crucial in problem-solving as well as taking in more advanced concepts.
For this article, we will be focusing solely on the first stage of development.
Your child’s first year of cognitive development
So, what are the various cognitive milestones that you can expect for your child’s first year? Here is a quick rundown.
Birth to one month
During your baby’s first month, he can respond to (and be startled by) loud sounds like telephone rings and vacuum cleaners. He is also able to turn his head towards the sounds and notice when they stop. Your child is also able to focus his gaze on objects that are a foot away from him and follow moving lights.
Even at this early age, your baby is able to recognize your face and also develops a preference for it over other faces. Some babies would also want to be stimulated more and would cry when they feel bored. They would also attempt to reach out to objects brought in front of them
2 to 4 months
When your child reaches his second month, he becomes more inquisitive about the world around him. Here, he begins to pay attention to the various new faces that he meets and follows people and objects as they move around him. Furthermore, he can turn his head from side to side to better hear the various sounds that interest him.
Your child also begins to develop a rudimentary form of communication. For instance, he starts to make different cries for different things, which will be useful once you get familiar with them. He may also show excitement when seeing a feeding bottle, anticipating that they might be eating soon.
6 to 8 months
At this age, your baby becomes more adept at recognizing familiar people, being able to discern their appearance, voice, and touch. He is also able to recall memories not only associated to people, but also to objects, even if that person or object is not present. This is what is known as object permanence.
Your child also becomes more self-aware, already knowing his name. He can also now make plans and decisions, such as whether or not crawl over to another place and check what is there. Lastly, he can now play with toys the correct way.
9 to 12 months
By the last quarter of his first year, your child is able to grasp more advanced concepts, such as pointing to hidden objects. Furthermore, he now understands that you don’t disappear” when you leave the room. He also begins to play simple games with you are by himself.
At this stage, he also begins what is known as pretend play wherein he imitates the actions that he sees, such as talking on the phone or brushing his teeth. He is also able to respond simple requests and can make requests of his own like repeating songs an d stories. Lastly, responds by stopping what he is doing when you say “no”.
Next, we will take a look at some of the myths associated with cognitive development.