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Natalie Clauss

Aspects of child development - thinking

After I have dealt with the development of movement, especially in the first year of life, in the last article, I would now like to describe parts of the cognitive development, i.e. the development of thinking.

Like all areas of development, this also begins prenatally. In the womb, the baby can already unconsciously remember certain stimuli. Just think of the melody of the music box that we as pregnant women often hold in front of our belly. In most cases, the baby's reactions are always exactly the same. Some of them become quite lively and seem to be happy about the attention, while others become calm as a result. This is a first form of habituation.

After birth, certain gestures or reactions are added, but these are usually still instinctive or reflexive. They can hardly be controlled by the baby. This includes, for example, sticking out the tongue as an imitation controlled, among other things, by the mirror neurons in the brain.

Also as an infant, further instincts show themselves in relation to brain development and associated thinking. For example, an infant is already able to distinguish different shapes or to recognize very paradoxical, illogical situations. The baby then usually reacts to these situations by crying, because there is little security in this.

In the middle of the second half of life, the frontal lobe continues to mature, which is a part of the cerebral cortex. The frontal lobe has various functions. On the one hand, it controls and coordinates movements, which is why more specific movements become possible at this time. At the same time, the frontal lobe is often referred to as the site of personality. The maturation of the frontal lobe takes a very long time overall and is not yet completed even at the age of majority.

As a result of the further development and maturation of this frontal lobe, the first "planned" actions are recognizable and give way to impulse actions in some places. In addition, attention and motivation increasingly grow. Personal interests and preferences become apparent.

The toddler age is characterized by a lot of trial and error. In the process, the child tries out various cause-and-effect relationships and, over time, recognizes the first cause-and-effect principles. It is also recognizable that frustration quickly arises when something does not work out the way the child wanted it to, and also that the child is clearly happy when something works. These reactions are sometimes also recognizable earlier.

Perseverance in playing and also, for example, in listening when being read to grows increasingly. Easy spatial terms such as in front of or behind can now also be recognized and smaller prompts are understood. Also, for many children at this age, easy puzzles to put in and later put together become exciting. Some children now also want to participate more in everyday life and want to help around the house, which again overlaps with other areas of development.

With regard to language development, the first words such as mommy or daddy are now emerging. Often these are still fantasy words or "unclearly" pronounced words that first need to be deciphered. In the coming months and years, however, our still young children will refine their language more and more and it will also become increasingly clear.

As you can see, the interaction between the different areas of development becomes clear once again. Therefore, the cognitive development can not only be considered as an independent development area. Rather, the strengths at the individual developmental levels always influence cognitive development as well. Thus, for example, preferences and interests are formed in our children.

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