The world is full of flashy new devices. From smartphones to tablets, there is a lot of technology out there to choose from (and it’s always being updated). But sometimes, going back to basics is the most effective parenting tool you have to help your child develop and learn – which is why educational flashcards never go out of style!
Educational flashcards can play a key role in a child’s development, even for very young children and babies. But when should you start using flashcards with babies, and how do flashcards help babies learn? These are good questions! Read on to find out more about the benefits of flashcards for preschoolers and babies.
The Development of Young Minds
How do you stimulate cognitive development in infants? This is an interesting question, because babies – while they may not be able to complete tasks on their own just yet – have brains that grow at an astonishing pace.
In their first year of life, babies will learn a multitude of things. They learn how to reach, focus, explore, and discover the world around them. Their cognitive development (the development of the brain that includes processing, memory, reasoning, and language) is in overdrive. That’s why infancy is a good time for parents to seize the opportunity to help their little ones develop cognitively.
There are some very easy ways that parents can do this, some of which you’re likely already doing. Some great ways to help your baby develop include:
- Reading to them
- Talking to them
- Answering them when they make sounds by adding words or repeating them
- Singing to them
- Giving them lots of love and praise
- Holding and cuddling them
- Playing with them when they’re relaxed but alert
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, using flashcards with your baby and then your toddler is a great way to stimulate their learning – and they’re likely to really enjoy it.
The Benefits of Flashcards for Babies and Toddlers
It’s no surprise that bright, colorful cards are something that can grab the attention of a young child. Showing your child flashcards exposes them to new information – information their brain is learning how to process.
Flashcards are an excellent way to present new concepts to even the smallest of children. If your baby can hold up their head and focus, they can benefit from the use of flashcards for short periods. Many experts say that children as young as six months can benefit from the introduction of simple flashcards that depict colors, numbers, pictures, and shapes.
Some of the benefits your child can reap from early use of flashcards include:
- Better cognitive development
- Improved memory
- Better language skills
- Visual stimulation
- Improved confidence
Strategies for Using Flashcards with Babies and Toddlers
It’s vital to remember that even babies are fast learners. That’s why flashcards are so ideal for them. They promote quick and active recall. The trick is to keep your child engaged and play games that are appropriate for their stage of development.
When you use flashcards with your child, you should:
- Avoid showing the same cards repeatedly
- Choose a subject for the flashcards your child has an interest in
- Update the content of the flashcards continuously, otherwise your child may get bored
- Make sure they’re in a good mood when using flashcards with them
- Take breaks
- Make playing with flashcards seems like a fun game – keep the energy up
- Use bright, large flashcards to keep your child’s interest
Flashcards should be presented in sets of 12 to 15 cards. Try to present several sets of cards each day and only spend a few seconds on each card.
Every child is unique. Their brains are poised and ready to learn from the moment they are born, and it’s OK to give them a nudge in the right direction to seize upon this rapid phase of development. Flashcards are a tool you can use to engage with your child and help them learn – and kids tend to like them if you present them in a fun way.
When you give flashcards a try with your little one, you may be amazed at not only how much your child enjoys them, but how much they can learn. Strong Minds is here to support you and your child in your journey together – a journey that can include flashcards for even the youngest children!