As a parent, one of the things we’re worried the most about is helping our child grow. We want them to turn into happy, passionate, intelligent, empathetic individuals, and a lot of that comes from their development. If we don’t help them delve into themselves and the way they learn, acquire knowledge, and interact with the environment, then we’re doing them a disservice. Though there are always new practices, methods, and ideas introduced about how best to parent, we’ve listed a few of our top ways to promote your child’s development. Take the time to encourage your child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development with a few of these activities and conversations. Check them out!
We’ve broken these activities into two separate categories—those that target social/emotional development and those geared toward cognitive development. Most of these will work in tandem with other categories as well!
One of the top ways to promote your child’s cognitive development has to do with offering them choices. This can be as small as letting them choose their outfit for the day to letting them choose whether they want to hang out inside or outside. Choices help build their problem-solving skills and make them feel more independent. Learning how to be independent and how to make individual choices at a young age means that they’ll grow more confident doing so as they grow up.
Provide Plenty of Playtime
No matter how young your child is, make sure to provide plenty of playtime. Allowing for outdoor play, tummy time on the pop n play while you work, sing-a-longs, creative opportunities for dramatic play, and playing games—these are the things that influence how a child learns. For example, sing-a-longs help promote memory and word identification, while plays help build confidence and improving cognitive thought.
Here at California Beach Co., we love the idea of lots of playtime. It deepens the connection between you and the kids and makes for a happy family!
Similar to offering choices, asking questions is another way to help children learn to think for themselves. Asking questions helps children learn how to problem solve and better understand how the world around them works. When you provide opportunities to provoke children to think for themselves, you encourage them to come up with original ideas. Try out this one: What do you think is the best way to build a fort for us to play in? From there, your child boosts their imagination and finds a solution that works for them. Make sure that you’re showing an authentic respect for their ideas; otherwise they won’t want to share their ideas in the future.
Games! One of the best ways to target all different categories of development, games can target one category specifically or several at once. The more games you play with kids, the more they’ll learn about themselves and the world around them. Play peek-a-boo with your toddlers, board games with your older children, and whatever else appeals to you. Get creative and young ones will learn to recognize shapes, colors, and letters, as well as learn the benefits of a bit of competition, and so much more!
Encourage Trying New Things
New things are an excellent way to delve into social and emotional development. When kids get too used to certain activities and routines, then that can limit their growth. Now, we may not be able to take the kids for a playdate, but when we can interact with people again, let them try new things. Encourage joining new groups and extracurriculars. New activities help them see what they’re capable of!
Talk About Feelings
Emotional development comes from talking and understanding feelings. From a young age, start talking to your kids about their feelings, but try to get them to delve into more than just stating the feeling. You can further these thoughts simply by asking why. If they’re sad, ask them why they’re sad. If they’re giggly, ask them why they’re giggling and what makes them happy. By asking and talking about these feelings, you’re helping them understand their own feelings.
An emotionally intelligent child can accomplish a lot—don’t discount the power of talking about feelings! Also, we really suggest just talking with them about how you’re feeling and how they’re feeling. Have a conversation about emotions. If they see you opening up about feelings, then they’re more likely to do the same. But keep in mind, they’re kids! Be soft with them, comfort them when they’re sad, don’t just automatically ask them to explain why. Show empathy, and they’ll learn to do the same.
One of our favorite activities for furthering social and emotional development is emotion flashcards! Emotion flashcards don’t just work on emotional development, but on social as well because it helps children become more empathetic. The task is quite simple—make some flashcards or download printables and help your child understand the typical physical reactions to different emotions. These can help kids describe their own emotions, understand others’ emotions, and just to be more aware of how emotions present.
Be sure to explain to your kids that sometimes people don’t present their emotions in the same ways they may see in the flashcards. Emotional development means learning all the different ways that people react, and though this is an ever-evolving education, starting young can help!
Remember, this isn’t an exact science; these are the things we’ve learned that may help your children as well. Development goes full circle—it’s not just about cognitive development or just about emotional development; it’s about both. We all learn as we go, and surrounding yourself with a community helps broaden your knowledge. Talk to your friends, join some parenting groups, and see how varied parenting teachings are!
When you’re playing with your kids, talking about feelings, or building a fort, turn to the California Beach Co. for a comfortable place to chat and play. Perfect for kids and adults, our Pop N Play is big enough for you to have chats with your kid and comfortable enough to allow for some quality tummy time for your baby. It’s the product you want around the house, both for outdoor and indoor play. Let it be your partner in development—the place the kids know they can go to learn more about how they work and how to better understand themselves and the world around them. Try it out!