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7 Cognitive Skills to Develop

7 Cognitive Skills to Develop

From the time they're born, children improve their intelligence by observing and interacting with their environment. Caregivers may track their development using various milestones, but it's only through active learning that children can reap the true benefits of cognitive development. 

What are Cognitive Skills?

Cognitive skills help our brain think, memorize, concentrate, read, and pay attention. They allow us to make sense of the environment and react to it.

How Do You Develop Cognitive Skills?

Proper cognitive development transforms the way a child learns and provides them with the tools they need to thrive in life and school. As a parent, you can build your child's cognitive skills by including a few simple activities into their daily routine. Teaching the skills can start from any age, from newborns to preschoolers and sixth-graders. If you live around Denver, CO, International School of Denver has a curriculum tailored to improve your child's cognitive abilities.

Exposing your child to different sights and sounds releases chemicals that trigger increased brain activity. You can do this with music, visiting new and interesting places, and playing interactive games with everyday objects.

Building Cognitive Skills with the Power of Language

Besides making you bilingual, recent studies show that learning a new language sharpens our cognitive abilities. Children who can speak more than one language eventually become better at multitasking, have perfect memory, make better decisions, and concentrate better in their studies. The Chinese program, French program, and Spanish program at ISDenver are some of the best ways to help your children become more intelligent and creative.

What are the 7 Cognitive Skills?

Here's a quick look at seven of the most important cognitive skills and how you can spot them in your child:

1). Attention

Attention is simply the power of focus, and there are three different kinds:

  • Sustained attention allows us to focus on one task for a long time. When you're low on sustained attention, you keep jumping from one task to the next without completion, leading to many unfinished projects.

  • Selective attention allows us to focus on one task, even when there are many distractions around us. Children who are low in this skill are easily distracted.

  • Divided attention enables us to remember information while handling more than one task at once. A child who is high in this skill will be very good at multitasking.

2). Long-term memory

Long-term memory helps us to store information for extended periods. It makes it easy to recall events from the past. As a cognitive skill, this memory exists in two forms; implicit and explicit memory. 

  • Implicit memory is information you can remember unconsciously. For example, once you learn how to ride a bike, it becomes a natural thing you can do despite the passage of years.

  • Explicit memory involves knowledge of facts and events around us. It takes a little more effort to recall this information, and it fades easily when not in use. 

Building your child's long-term memory helps them do better in tests and reduces forgetfulness.

3). Working memory

Working memory is like having sticky notes in your brain to help you remember important tasks as you move along the workday. It's a skill that helps us hold on to information while working without losing track of what we're doing. The memory is usually short-term, allowing us to store up to nine random things for quick retrieval. 

Working memory has great implications for learning in children and affects their development into functional adults. Perfecting the skill in your child makes them good at following directions in class, and they most likely don't lose their stuff.

4). Logic and reasoning

Logic and reasoning are inseparable skills that help us reason out problems, form ideas, and develop solutions. Good reasoning is logical, and it helps us analyze problems and create order out of a mess. Cognitive tests usually measure this skill using verbal and non-verbal methods.

  • Verbal reasoning checks the child's ability to comprehend and work through problems expressed in words.

  • Non-verbal reasoning deals with our ability to understand concepts from images and diagrams. This reasoning helps us read maps and extract useful information from charts.

A child struggling with this skill will experience difficulty in math and may find it hard to make simple decisions.

5). Auditory processing

There is no doubt that active listening makes us better communicators, and auditory processing is one of its key enablers. It helps us to analyze sounds and process the information we hear. 

You may want to check a child's auditory processing when you realize they're struggling with verbal instructions. A study in 2019 found that children with low auditory processing had poor scores in verbal and spatial reasoning.

6). Visual processing

Visual perception helps us make sense of the world around us. It benefits all other cognitive skills, making it easier to pay attention, remember objects, interpret patterns, and relate sounds to pictures. 

A child high in visual processing can distinguish between object shapes and sizes and pick out the missing information from patterns. The skill also leads to better hand-eye coordination and improved memory.

7). Higher Standardized Test Scores

Performing higher on verbal standardized tests is what we at ISDenver pride ourselves on. The ability to learn another language also helps with these increased scores and can translate into math and logic as well. We believe that the younger the child who immerses him or herself into a language only gains a benefit in the long run. More efficient use of the brain can lead to better scores on standardized tests.

What are the Most Important Cognitive Skills You Need to Develop?

All seven skills are essential to strengthening a child's mental abilities, and it doesn't help to stack one skill against another. However, you can prioritize some cognitive skills over others, depending on your child's current abilities. One of the best things about cognitive skills training is that improvement in one area could translate to significant changes in others. 

For example, improvement in visual processing enhances long-term memory, while auditory processing could improve logic and reasoning. 

Focusing on a child's sensory and language abilities offers one of the best foundations for improving cognitive skills. If you're looking for learning that transforms your children into better versions of themselves, ISDenver offers the perfect environment. Contact us today for more information.



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