Cognitive skills – How to improve it in children?

With our previous article, we learned about the stages of cognition in a child. But how to improve or boost these cognitive skills in kids is the case in point. This is what we are highlighting in this section.

1. Exercising brain and body: Benefits of exercising is innumerable and yes, it also helps improve cognitive skills. Start by fixing a time for physical and brain exercises in the timetable. Simple exercises for mind / body coordination work wonders. For e.g. writing with non dormant hand, tongue twisters, doing different things with both hands simultaneously. Other examples include learning a new skill like music, gardening, games like ‘I put in my basket’ etc.

2. Sufficient sleep: Sleep, sure is an individual thing but the general rule of thumb for a kid is 11 to 12 hours of sleep a day.

3. Rhymes and songs: Just like you and I listen to music, sing (even if it is the bathroom) to refresh or relax our minds, kids need them too. In fact, creating own rhymes and songs opens up their mind to new possibilities and encourages imagination and even helps learn quicker.

4. Group or family bonding activities: Being a part of group and having good family bonding not only makes a child social but also brings in a sense of belonging. Feeling secure boosts child’s self esteem. This in turn encourages the child to ask questions and give opinion without hesitations. Bonding activities like enjoying meals with family, doing activities like playing games, singing, dancing or cooking are some examples.

5. Practical learning: With everyday things that are available in your home, you can help your child develop cognitive skills. Involve him / her in activities like cooking, cleaning, gardening, washing clothes / utensils, etc. You can teach your child basic skills like sorting, counting, finding or matching colours, shapes and so on with these chores.

6. Encourage imagination: ‘Imagination is more powerful than knowledge’ – Albert Einstein. He used his powerful imagination throughout his life and career. It is an essential tool in cognition development. Activities like role-play, reading, listening to stories, creating own stories, creative activities like painting, sewing, gardening, dancing, singing, arts and craft etc. boosts imagination. Another way is to have discussions or asking open ended questions to your child. Let them give their opinion and then make them listen to yours. This will open their minds towards the fact that there can be more than one perspective of thinking and reasoning.

7. Critical thinking: Encourage the questions of your little one – ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’. They are the key to a critically inclined mind. Kids are naturally curious so as parents, you just need to encourage their reasoning. Know that there will be times when you might need to consciously hold back from being tired or annoyed of these questions!

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