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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Parental Techniques to Teach Cognitive Processes

By Andrew Loh

Parents may use several useful techniques and methods to train their children for better cognitive processes. The basic method to improve cognition is quite simple too. However, given the complexity of the process, parents may need to be very careful while using such techniques.

Tip #1: First, let your child know what she thinks is valued by you. Give importance to her questions and answers. Listen carefully what she says.

Tip #2: When you allow children to express their mind, they would develop stronger self esteem and self image. A strong mind signifies that the child is more aggressive, confident and capable of handling many difficult challenges in life.

Tip #3: Ask a series of questions to elicit a stream of answers. Make them think and answer questions. Let the questions be open because they can elicit more answers which make it easy for the child to pick up the most appropriate ones.

Tip #4: Let them come with all original ideas. Respect them to. Correct them only when necessary. Original ideas could be created only by a capable brain and repeated exercises make children authentic and able to create better ideas and suggestions that are practical nature.

Tip #5: Give them smaller problem that make them think and act. Set up a treasure hunt game within your home. Give them a series of clues and ideas that allow them to solve before getting the treasure. Treasure hunt improves thinking power and streamlines critical think skills too.

Tip #6: Teach them the basic principle of “cause and effect”. They should know what causes to arrive at a specific result. One best example is turning a screw to either open or close something. Another pinching arm with fingers that eventually causes pains and anguish.

Tip #7: Use a model of clay to demonstrate how patterns and shapes could be created. Ask them to relate them to things that exist in nature and provide answers by explaining basic concepts. An important non-cognitive skill that can be improved here is eye to brain to muscle coordination skill which results in better motor ability.

Tip #8: Allow them to play with building block, puzzle and board games, roll balls and other brain building toys to improve cognition, thinking, and imagination and muscle building. These brain building games can help children streamline their thinking process and refine memory skills. Brain building toys are very practical because they target different areas of brain to tune different skills and abilities.

Tip #9: Cognition starts with a series of questions that focus on the following keywords: “why”, “how”, “when”, “where” and “what”. Make sure that you use one or some of these keywords everyday to improve thinking and processing of information received into the brain. Connecting different bits of information and processing them arrive at a useful meaning is the essence of boosting cognition in children.

“WHY” of things

The keyword “why” is inquisitive in nature and it relates to thinking about providing a rationale for certain natural phenomena or events. For example, “Why this flower is blue?', “Why star shines?” and “Why it snows only in the winter?” are some of the questions that boost curiosity in children.

“HOW” of things

The “how” of events and things are as critical and important, as the “why” side, because it tries to explain the “why” side of events in a logical manner. It provides logical reasoning apart from giving solid set of analogies explain different perspectives.

“WHEN”, “WHERE” and “WHAT” of things

These keywords are also important because they provide additional evidences and explanations to the former two sides of thinking. i.e. “WHY” and” HOW” For example, to the question, “Why it snows only in the winter?” a child can answer in the following manner:

“It snows always in the winter”, “It snows in temperate regions of the word and they are X, Y and Z.” and “It becomes very cold when it snows in temperate regions of the world.”

Cognition also involves linking together different aspects of senses. What a child sees, hears, feels and senses should brought together to create a common meaning that is provides the logical and appropriate answer. All these senses collect information that is always raw and jumbled up. Once they are stored in short term memory, a sequential process starts almost immediately within the brain to transfer all of them to a sector of long term memory. In what manner the child retrieves such information can decide the type of cognition the person will possess in the future. If the child becomes capable to retrieve most bits of information as and when necessary, he or she can use it to perform many functions that are cognitive in nature. Cognition is the first important life skill that a child must hone in order to succeed in life.

Featured Resource

Children's Thinking
By David F. Bjorklund, Ph.D

A comprehensive book supported by extensive research studies and data, Bjorklund's text presents the broadest coverage of topics in cognitive development. Unlike other books, Bjorklund shows readers how developmental function can help explain individual differences in cognition by covering both the typical pattern of change in thinking observed over time and the individual differences in children's thinking in infancy and childhood.

A major theme of this book is the continuous transaction between the embodied children embedded in a social world: although a child is born prepared to make some sense of the world, his or her mind is also shaped by forces in the physical and social environment.


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Child Development

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