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Melanie Barnett
BY Melanie Barnett

4 Resources for Supporting Your Child’s Cognitive Development

What is cognitive development? This is how your child develops the ability to learn about the world around them. Thinking, learning to speak, reasoning and memory are all part of cognitive development. 

How can we support children’s cognitive development? It’s important to understand what cognitive development means for your child and how to help them reach developmental milestones. 

Explore the resources below to learn more about actively supporting your child’s cognitive development. 

1. Track your child’s cognitive development milestones

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created milestone checklists with lists of things most children can do at each age. For example, most one-year-olds are able to display the following cognitive abilities, according to the CDC:

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Find your child’s age and check off the milestones they have achieved, and make note of which ones they have not. Each child is unique. Not everyone will hit each milestone at the same time — and that’s okay. If your child is failing to meet cognitive development milestones, talk to your child’s pediatrician about developmental delays. 

2. Practice these easy daily activities with your child 

 There are many everyday activities you can do with your child to help promote cognitive development. By encouraging them to use memory, visual and critical thinking skills throughout the day, you can help your child meet developmental milestones. Check out 10 ways to promote cognitive development:

  • Sing along with your child
  • Ask your child to identify noises throughout the day 
  • Practice singing the alphabet
  • Practice counting
  • Practice shapes and counting
  • Offer your child choices for what to wear or what to eat
  • Visit lively and interesting places like a children’s museum or farmer’s market
  • Play with household items
  • Play a variety of games

3. Check out toys for supporting cognitive development and problem-solving skills

Children use playtime to learn, grow and discover the world around them. When choosing which toys to buy for your child, consider picking ones that encourage your child’s curiosity, memory skills, creativity and more. 

Read more about toys that help with cognitive development and toys that promote problem-solving skills.

4. Learn more from books on child development

If you are searching for information about how to help your child reach cognitive development and other milestones, check out these 5 books that can teach new parents about child development written by autism specialists and occupational therapists. These books on child development include easy and fun games and activities to help your child develop critical skills and abilities.

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