Are Flashcards Good For Early Development?

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. 

baby surrounded by toys
Image by Yuri Shirota on Unsplash: Are flashcards good for children? Anything that piques a child’s interest is good for them!

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. 

toddler playing with blocks
Image by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash: Are flashcards good for early development? Yes! Your baby is just waiting to learn every day.

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!

Featured image by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

What Age Can Children Start Using Flashcards?

Children are like sponges, constantly learning and absorbing information about the world around them pretty much since birth – and in some limited cases – in-utero! As knowledge truly is power, it’s never too early to start your children on their educational journey, exposing them to as much age-appropriate stimulating and beneficial information as possible.

Flashcards are a great way to reinforce the things your children are learning about the world around them. In fact, from a very early age, they can make a connection between words and pictures – both spoken to them and written down, as you’d find on a flashcard.

What age can children start using flashcards? Read on to find out all you need to know! 

What Age Should You Start Flashcards?

You may assume that flashcards are something that should be used with older children, but in fact you can start educational flashcards with a child as young as six months old. Using flashcards at this age will help to stimulate the development of the right side of the brain.

What is the right brain? The two sides of the brain are divided into left and right hemispheres. The left side of the brain is generally thought to be responsible for language, information processing and analysis. The right side of the brain is connected to visual imagery. A strong right brain will help a child to develop skills later on, such as reading and memorization – plus it will help them think in a more efficient way. 

By starting flashcards with a child as young as six months old, you’ll take advantage of a critical formative period for right brain development that begins around this age and continues to about six years old. 

When you start flashcards with a child this young, you should begin slowly. Remember, they don’t have a very long attention span, so you should use colorful and bright cards to engage them in short sessions!

alphabet letters
Image by Jason Leung on Unsplash: Are flashcards good for a one-year-old? Yes! You can start with a baby as young as six months.

How Do You Start Flashcards For Toddlers?

Toddlers may not be easily convinced to do a lot of things with their fierce independence streak, but you may be able to easily engage them with flashcards. 

Flashcards help to make learning fun for a toddler! Simple concepts related to shapes, colors, numbers and letters will help them to learn and get a leg up on their peers at this age. 

Try using flashcards in short sessions with toddlers in which you show them the card and ask them to repeat what you’re saying. This repetition, play and encouragement will help to solidify learning concepts early on. 

How Do Flashcards Work?

As mentioned, flashcards are a great tool to help stimulate the right brain. They have many benefits for children who are developing rapidly over a relatively short period of time, from six months old to six years old. 

The benefits of flashcards for kids in this age range include:

When flashed quickly to a child, the cards stimulates the right brain to process the information rapidly. This helps to exercise this right side of the brain and build connections that can help them as they continue to grow. 

Another advantage to using flashcards is the development of memory in a child. As they work to recall the information in a flash, they are triggering their ability to memorize things.

  • Connections Between Both Sides Of The Brain

When you use flashcards, you should show the card and say the phrase on it. This works to stimulate both the right and the left sides of the brain, merging the two hemispheres to encourage whole brain development. 

baby with toy
Image by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash: Baby flashcards don’t have to be complicated.

How to Use Flashcards

When it comes to flashcards, you should start small and build from there. You don’t need to begin with complex material at first. In fact, your goal in the beginning should be to simply encourage your child to have fun with it! 

For younger kids, short sessions are key. But as children get older, you’ll want to incorporate games into your flashcards to help inspire them to remember the material you’re covering. 

Remember, when using flashcards with your child you should first serve as the guide in using them. Once your child has grasped the concept, you can throw off those training wheels and allow them to use flashcards on their own! Teaching children how to learn through flashcards is something that can stick with them their whole lives – translating later into good study habits that will serve them well and bring them success!

Featured image by Stephen Andrews on Unsplash