Category Archives: Cognitive

Executive function: the most important set of skills we can teach our kids

Early experiences –whether positive or negative– have a profound impact on the developing brain and its basic neural circuitry, which in turn provides the foundation for more complex higher-level skills. Of these higher-level skills, executive function has been gaining a lot of attention lately -and rightly so. Executive function helps us focus on different information at the same time, make decisions, review and change plans as necessary, and control our emotions and impulses. Laying a strong foundation in order to allow the acquisition of these executive function skills is one of the most important tasks of the early childhood years, because they are so critical to adult functioning.

Executive function serves as the brain’s air traffic controller –managing all the different signals, impulses, and desires of the brain. The brain’s prefrontal cortex is critical to executive function, but it does not act alone, as it controls behavior through interactions with the rest of the brain. By the time a child’s first birthday comes along, the brain –which originally worked almost as a set of isolated neurons– starts to function as a large network of interconnected areas. This allows coordinated action and the management of different impulses. As adults, this translates into an ability to multitask, display self-control, stay focused in spite of distractions, and follow multi-step directions –all critical to achieving our goals, getting along with others, and becoming contributing members of society. Continue reading

The first few years: cognitive development

In this series, we’ll explain each of Kinedu’s four areas of development. Keep reading to find out what you can expect from your baby’s development in the first years!

Babies are a lot like little scientists –actively testing the world to figure out how it works. A baby’s cognition –or the group of mental processes that include abstract thinking, memory, problem solving, and attention– helps create this understanding of the world.

One of the first big leaps your baby will take is developing a sense of agency, or the fact that he can make things happen. This is tied with understanding cause and effect –again, pretty important when it comes to making some sense of how the world works.

By the time your baby’s first birthday comes around, he’ll have a pretty good grasp on the fact that people and things still exist even when he can’t see them. You’ll notice this breakthrough in object permanence when he starts to find toys when they are hidden from sight. This will make Peek-a-boo a little outdated, but hide-and-seek will become so much more fun.

Continue reading

Why the early years matter

Here at Kinedu, we’re committed to giving parents the best tools for improving their child’s development. But why do we focus on babies 0-2 years old? There’s a good reason for this!The early years matter – for the rest of a person’s life. During this important period of brain development, a baby’s brain is incredibly active – it’s changing and adapting at a rate that won’t be matched for the rest of his or her lifetime.

Continue reading