Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Building your child’s brain through physical literacy

This article is from Active for Life.

In the last article, I wrote about how building your child’s brain is like building a house. The early years are the time to build a sturdy foundation upon which a strong house – that can last a lifetime – can be built. Just like the four walls of a house, a child’s brain has four main areas of development: cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

Each of these four areas needs to be supported and nurtured so that the child’s house will be well balanced.

  • Cognitive development refers to when a young child learns to speak, read, write, and count. It is also how a child learns to think through situations, plan ahead, and solve problems.
  • Emotional development is how a young child learns to understand his emotions and express them in acceptable ways. This is how a child learns to say that he is tired, angry, sad, or confused. And then, with the support of those around him, he learns how to work through these emotions in ways that help his family, teachers, and friends become aware of what he needs.
  • Social development is learning how to make friends, share, and play with others. As a child develops socially, she learns how to negotiate with her friends about what to play and she knows that her turn on the swing will come soon. She learns self-control and becomes able to deal with distractions.
  • Physical development is not only about growing taller and heavier. It is about a child learning how to control the large muscles (gross motor) in his torso, arms, and legs to jump, run, and kick. It is also about learning how to control the small muscles in his hands and fingers (fine motor) to hold a pencil, paint, and turn the pages of a book.

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