Cognitive development in children is the ability to think and reason. The brain is an important part of child development and can be categorized into four stages. The following stages of cognitive development in children were developed by famous child development psychologist Jean Piaget.
Infants – The sensorimotor stage. Babies are much more aware than some people give them credit for. They are constantly learning and analyzing things around them. Generally, an infant’s behaviors are limited to sensory perception and motor activities. The sensorimotor stage covers from birth until their language begins to develop. This stage of cognitive development in children is further divided into six subcategories. The six subcategories can be read about here.
Toddlers and early childhood – The preoperational stage. This stage of child development lasts from the beginning of language to seven years of age. The imagination can be seen in this stage as play begins to develop. During this stage children have not yet developed the ability of logical thinking. They have trouble seeing things from a different point of view. This becomes apparent when you try to tell your child no and explain why they can’t have cake for dinner. This stage of cognitive development in children is further divided into two stages.
Elementary and early adolescence – Concrete operational stage. This stage is from about seven years of age to eleven. The key part in this phase of child development is the ability to think logically. Children in this stage have not yet figured out how to use logic to predict the outcome of events. The key characteristic in this phase is the awareness that actions can be reversed. reverse thinking can be seen in the perception of mental category relationships. An example is recognizing that a carrot is food, which is a vegetable, which is a plant. The cognitive development in children at this point can also allow them to realize that other people may have different thoughts about the same thing.
Teens and adults – Formal operational stage. This stage deals mainly with the logical usage of symbols to abstract concepts. This is no longer in the realm of child development. Early on, there may be a return to egocentric thought. Deductive and hypothetical reasoning come into play. Problem-solving emerges during this phase. Not everyone learns to think formally.
Cognitive development in children is a large part of overall child development.By understanding how your child’s brain is developing you may learn how to better understand them.