Stimulation of the mental faculties helps in the cognitive development of children. A child’s senses are stimulated from birth, but the greatest show of brain activity is in the first three years of a child’s life. This means that these early stages are the best time for child mental development and for stimulation for future cognitive development.
Early Child Development and Cognitive Stimulation
During infancy and up to three years of age, children’s brain cells are quick to form connections and link to other cells, which help cognitive development in children. At this age, a single brain cell is able to connect to almost 14,000 other cells to form patterns of behavior. Weak stimulation leads to inadequate formation of connections and poor development of the child’s brain, which hampers the child’s cognitive development. Different types of stimulus give impressions of facial expressions, body language and emotional reactions and children learn to imitate them at the right time.
Cognitive development in children at this age forms patterns that will last well into the future. With insufficient stimulus, the cognitive development in children is stunted, which makes them unable to express themselves appropriately or to recognize expressions on others.
Early Cognitive Development in Children
Stimulation of children in early development stages forms their character for the future. With weak mental stimulation, there is poor mental development in children, resulting in problems like poor school learning, lower intellectual ability, unstable emotional reactions and many more. Additionally, intellectual development is affected by the traits exhibited by the parents.
For example, a depressed mother offers negative stimulus to the child, causing the child to display negative patterns in later life when upset. Many parents may not realize the role and impact of outside stimulus on the social or emotional development of their children.
Stages of Development in Children
Children begin to develop their cognitive and intellectual capabilities from birth. The growth path that each follows is unique, but there are some stages common to all. As children begin to grow, they learn to walk, to interact through conversation, to express themselves in words, and to assign values and identities to objects and people.
At this point in the mental and emotional development of children, their personalities begin to show, whether quiet, shy, aggressive, or active. This is a good time to mould a child’s social and emotional development patterns, with positive reinforcement of good traits, and to curb bad behavior.
Stimulating Healthy Cognitive, Social & Emotional Development in Children
Stimulus for child mental development should be regular and versatile. While it is important to acknowledge negative emotions in a child, the parents should take care not to display them in front of children. Even subtle negative behavior can be picked up, and will form part of the behavior patterns in children.
Talking to children provides one of the most effective forms of stimulus for child mental development. Research has shown when parents interact with the child a great deal; there is better cognitive, social and emotional development in children, leading to better skills at mathematics, enhanced reasoning and self-expression. Even before infants can talk, child cognitive development is taking place, and they are receptive to the stimulation provided by conversation.
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