Factors Affecting Intellectual Development in Children
Intellectual development is an aspect that every human being is expected to undergo. This type of development begins right at conception stage. Scientists have argued that hereditary factors are the biggest determinants of a child’s intellect. Even though hereditary factors play a huge role in shaping cognitive and intellectual development, there are other factors that cannot be ignored. These include:
- Nutritional factors. Scientists have proven that women who fail to eat properly during their pregnancies place their children at a disadvantage. Lack of protein in the diet can be detrimental to the unborn child because it slows down their intellectual development. In addition, research shows that children who are breastfed for the first six months tend to be brighter as compared to those who are not. This is because they get rich nutrients that contribute to intellectual development. In general, nutrition is an important part of a child’s development and it is important to feed children on nutritious foods and balanced diets when they are young to make sure they develop intellectually.
- Socio economic factors. Experts state that socio economic factors can contribute to intellectual development in children. This is because parents who have the resources can offer their children good opportunities for education and learning. These parents also tend to have more time to interact with their children, speak with them and even read to them. This goes a long way in developing the intellectual aspects of children. On the other hand many poor parents are always shuffling from one job to the other hence do not have the time for their children. They also lack enough money to spend on opportunities that can build their children intellectually.
- The environment in which a child grows also influences their intellectual development. This can be the physical as well as emotional environment. Scientists have stated that certain minerals such as lead and fluoride hinder intellectual development. Children who are raised in areas that contain these components experience slow intellectual development. In terms of emotional environment, a child can develop cognitively if he or she is exposed to a positive learning environment. When children live in tensed and stressful environments, they become less inclined to learn and test new things unlike those who are exposed to freer environments.
- What a child is exposed to when growing up always has a lasting impact on their intellect. Experts state that the most important intellectual stimuli for children are constructive toys and books. Toys which encourage children to count and form words are the most beneficial as compared to playthings. Children should also be encouraged to do their own colorings and have a workspace. Books with pictures and large words are also great stimuli for children. By reading to their children, parents not only stimulate intellectual development but also inculcate in them a reading culture which can be quite helpful in intellectual development. In as much as some parents use television learning programs to stimulate children intellectually, psychologists warn that television does more harm than good when it comes to intellectual development. In fact, experts say that children should not be exposed to television until they reach two years and parents must pick out programs with care.
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