The Developing Child

Insights and Developments in Therapeutic Treatment Approaches for Pediatric Conditions

COGNITION: WHAT IS IT?

Cognition refers to children’s ability to think, reason, solve problems, and learn new information about their world and relationships. Children develop these skills through play and by learning to make judgments in their everyday interactions and routines. The following pivotal behaviors are important for developing cognition: social play, initiation, exploration, problem-solving, and practice. Today we dive into the social play.

SOCIAL PLAY

Social play refers to children’s ability to play with their parents and other adults across many situations. Social play is characterized by a “give and take” in which children contribute as much to the play activity as their adult partners. Children are actively involved with the play activity, but they are also aware of their partner’s activity and experience.

SOCIAL PLAY WITH PARENTS IS CRITICAL FOR PROMOTING CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENTAL GROWTH

Children acquire the information and understanding needed to promote cognitive growth by engaging in play. The best way parents can help their children learn is by joining them in social play. The information and guidance parents provide children make their play a richer learning experience.

Cognitive Learning is a Two-Person Process - How well children develop is related to how their parents play and communicate with them. The impact parents have on children's development is related more to how they respond to their children than to what they do when they play. Parents play the same role in children's development even when the children have developmental problems. Cognitive Learning Occurs When Children are Active and Alert - Any activity or experience can provide opportunities for cognitive learning to occur. Whether children learn is more a function of how actively they are involved than on the nature of their learning experiences. Children are more likely to be active and alert when they engage in reciprocal social play with a responsive adult. By Themselves, Children Can Only Learn Information They Discover Accidently - Children's play reflects their current understanding of the world. Cognitive learning occurs primarily through children's active engagement in social play. Children's discoveries are slow unless parents become involved in their play.

PARENTS SCAFFOLD CHILDREN'S INVOLVEMENT IN SOCIAL PLAY

Scaffolds are temporary supports that are used to construct new buildings. Cognitive learning occurs primarily through children's active engagement in social play. Effective parents act as a scaffold by supporting children's participation in social play. Enhance Your Child's Play - Draw your child’s attention to elements of an activity they may be overlooking, you’re your child center can for alternative activities they can do with objects, and demonstrate solutions to problems that your child cannot solve on their own. Help Your Child Learn the Social Consequences of Their Actions - Children must learn how their actions and behaviors affect others. The more parents respond expressively to their children's behavior the quicker children become aware of the effects their behaviors have on others. Parents' reactions to children's behavior should be matched to their current level of developmental functioning. 

REMEMBER:

·BE PHYSICALLY AVAILABLE AND INTERACTIVE

·PLAY FREQUENTLY TOGETHER 

·GET INTO YOUR CHILD'S WORLD 

·USE MIRRORING AND PARALLEL PLAY TO JOIN AN ACTIVITY

·EXPECT THAT YOUR CHILD WILL INTERACT WITH YOU

Piaget helped us understand how play is a child's work. Numerous research studies have reported that how well children develop is related to how their parents play and communicate with them. In fact, parents’ social play with their children can account for as much as 25% of children's learning and development. The best way parents can help their children learn and develop is by joining them in social play.

Reference: Mahoney, Gerald, and James David MacDonald. Autism and Developmental Delays in Young Children. Pro-Ed, 2007

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