Factors that Affect Cognitive Development in Children
As children grow, they develop cognitive ability. They are able to recognize things and people as well as learn new things around their environment. Unknown to many people, cognitive development begins at conception and there are several factors that determine how a child grows and gains cognitive abilities. The following are some of the important factors that play a role in the cognitive development of children:
- Hereditary factors. Research shows that hereditary factors are the most important factors that influence cognitive development. According to science intelligence is passed on from parents to their children. This is one of the important factors that you cannot control yet affect cognitive development.
- Health may affect a child’s cognitive development either positively or negatively. When children are born with health problem they have difficulty developing certain cognitive abilities. Disabilities in the sensory parts of the body such as ears, eyes, smell, touch and tongue can also slow down cognitive development. Children with such disabilities and health problems may require special help in order to develop their cognitive abilities.
- Eating right has always been important for overall development. Unborn children get nutrition from their mothers. This is why women are encouraged to eat lots of proteins in order to pass on the necessary nutrients for brain development to their unborn children. After birth, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their children for the first six months because breast milk contains essential nutrients which help in cognitive development. Children must also be given balanced diets as they grow up as this contributes to brain development and later on enhance cognitive abilities.
- External stimuli. Children need external stimuli for cognitive development. Research shows that children who are exposed to learning toys and picture books at an early stage tend to develop cognitive abilities faster than those who have neither. In addition children should be read to frequently as this helps to develop learning and listening skills. Exposure to television at an early age is discouraged because research shows that this tends to slow down cognitive development. In fact, psychologists recommend that children should only be exposed to television after they reach two years and even such exposure should be limited to a maximum of two hours of constructive programs.
- Economic capabilities. Economic capabilities determine the type of learning opportunities a parent can provide for their children. Parents who face economic challenges tend to work more for longer hours hence have little time to interact with their children and read to them or even monitor their cognitive development. This becomes an obstacle to the children from poor families to develop cognitive abilities as compared to those from rich families.
- Social aspects. Cognitive development goes hand in hand with social development. This is because as children interact, they learn to speak and act. They also learn to express what they have learnt by copying those around them. To this effect it is necessary to provide an environment where children play with others and interact with those around them in order to enhance their cognitive development.
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