Babies cognitive abilities are remarkable! Babies don’t live in a world of reactions, impulses, mystifying sights, and confusing sounds. Your newborn has a collected number of cognitive, perceptual and sensory competencies that you can enhance through contact, environment, and social interaction. 

babies cognitive abilities

Babies Cognitive Abilities: Cognitive Competence

Because babies spend most of their time sleeping, crying and sucking, it was once believed that infants lacked the ability to think or form complex ideas. Their minds were considered to be, “Tabula Rasa”, or “blank slates” to be written on by experience.

babies cognitive abilities

If your newborn sleeps 16-18 hours a day and spend up to 2-3 hours crying how on the ball can he or she be? The fact is your little on is remarkably competent and demonstrates cognitive abilities soon after being born. For example, within days or even hours after your baby was born, he or she could show a preference for faces or face-like stimuli (Mondloch et al., 1999). At three-days-old your infant was able to make the distinction between your voice and other voices in a room. At one week of age, your little bundle of joy preferred your smell to another nursing mother. And at four-months -old your baby recognized their name (Mandel, Jusczyk, & Pisoni, 1995).

Jean Piaget And Babies Cognitive Abilities

Breaking away from the accepted model that linked child development with environmental factors, Piaget decided to explore innate aptitudes. He believed these aptitudes guide children’s progression through a series of developmental stages. He believed that children were active and autonomous learners, using their senses to interact with the world around them. Piaget stressed the importance of nurturing and guiding your children, while giving them the freedom to experiment and explore on their own.

Newborn babies

Jean Piaget’s Four Stages Of  Development

According to Piaget, every baby passes through various stages of cognitive development; the stages have different qualities and are hierarchal. A child only moves on to the next phase after completing his or her current stage. The time it takes your baby to move on to the next stage of development can’t be rushed; each child has his or her pace of development.  Piaget believed children will construct an understanding of the world around them, and will then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. To explain his theory, Piaget used the concept of stages to describe development as a sequence of the four following stages
Babies Cognitive abililities -Jean Piagets four Stages of development
The four stages represent levels in the development of intelligence mainly providing a list of the “schemas” that babies use at a particular moment in their development. A schema is a mental model of a set of ideas perceptions and actions that help organize our past experiences and prepare us for experiences in the future. Your baby’s first schemas are simple, for example, “things I can eat”. But, as they grow, children’s schema’s become more complicated. Allowing them to understand the difference between their bedroom and the kitchen, what distinguishes a horse from a cow or what constitutes, “best friend”. According to Piaget, intelligent behavior is made up of a growing collection of schemas.
new babies

The First Stage of Development: Sensorimotor

 “The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Child’s Self-Esteem” series will examine each stage of Piaget’s theory. This post covers the Sensorimotor Motor stage, which spans the first two years of your baby’s life. During this period, your baby learns about the world primarily through his or her senses (sensor) and movement (motor). Newborns at this stage are egocentric, which means they see the world only from their perspective. At the beginning of the stage, infants practice reflexes without understanding or intention. Later, they can extend and coordinate their reflexes with objects, as evidence by their ability to grab and hold a rattle. As their cognitive skills develop, babies start thinking about their behaviors and reacting to different stimuli such as noises, movement and emotions. Your baby might giggle or smile because he or she perceived something as funny or interesting. Because such a reaction is a induced by cognitive development, it falls within the sensorimotor stage.

Babies Cognitive Abilities: Physical And Social Environment

Your baby is a sense machine. And you create your baby’s world with a variety of stimuli. A variety of stimuli means changes in available toys and objects. Provide your child with lots of different types of toys that the manufacturer designed to fit your child’s developmental level. Also, encourage your baby to explore actively all the sights, sounds and objects that fill his or her world. 

According to a study published Thursday in Science, babies learn by being surprised by the objects around them.
“Our research suggests that infants use what they already know about the world to form predictions. When these predictions are shown to be wrong, infants use this as a special opportunity for learning,” Lisa Feigenson, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University and an author of the study, said in a statement. “When babies are surprised, they learn much better, as though they are taking the occasion to try to figure something out about their world.” Read more…

Tips for cognitive development

  • Visual Stimulation: Brightly colored objects for play such as a mobile to hang over the crib. Buy more than one mobile so you can vary them every few months.
  • Auditory Stimulation: Expose your baby to pleasant music and sounds. Talk and sing to your newborn. Get outside for long walks there’s a variety of sounds for your baby’s ears. Enrich your daily strolls outside by naming the sounds in the air, “Do you hear the bird”? “Listen to the Bells”, or “That’s a loud truck”!
  • Tactile Stimulation: Activate tactile stimulation with plush toys or books that include textures such as, cotton, fleece or silk. Play interactive hand and toe games such as Patty-Cake, Peek-a-Boo and This Little Piggy.
  • Gross Motor Skills (large muscles): Teach your baby how to throw and kick a ball. Observe him as he explores an opened box. One of my son’s favorite toys was a plunger, (it was new) I purchased at Target. I’d suction it to the kitchen floor, cover the handle with a towel, and he loved knocking it around. Rocking horses, tricycles, wagons, toy strollers or lawn mower are great toys for gross motor development.
  • Fine Motor skills (small muscles): For eye-hand coordination, invest in a baby gym with dangling toys. Peg boards, sorting toys or filling and dumping trucks all stimulate the small muscle, groups.

Remember, boosting babies cognitive abilities  can’t be achieved by toys alone  You’re the anchor in your child’s life; it’s your engagement and participation in all of your child’s play activities that will boost their cognitive abilities.

your baby's cognitive development

This concludes the, infant section in my, Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Child’s Self Esteem. Don’t miss my next section, 

Until Then,




2017-09-29T11:37:36+00:00 By |Tags: |

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