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Natural Remedies to Help a Toddler's Cognitive Development

by Melinda Kedro, studioD

As a parent, you may seek natural ways to enhance your toddler's brain development and function. Your toddler's cognitive development is largely dependent upon environmental factors that you can control in order to provide optimal results. Support your toddler's developmental experience by focusing on proper nutrition, appropriate stimulation, adequate sleep and supplemental remedies such as herbs and homeopathic medicines.

Healthy Environment and Lifestyle

Assisting your toddler's cognitive development begins with beneficial lifestyle choices. A well-balanced diet contributing essential nutrients for development is important. Ensure your child's diet includes the right amount of iron and iodine, as both play a significant role in cognitive development. Always offer your child breakfast. According to the National Food Service Management Institute, eating breakfast every day assists children with learning. Breastfeeding your infant will provide necessary levels of DHA, an essential fatty acid aiding brain development. Whole milk and infant formulas containing DHA are also beneficial. Be sure your child's daily schedule includes an ample amount of time for active play with limited television and video exposure. Getting enough exercise and fresh air is a natural approach to assisting proper cognitive development. Offering an emotionally supportive environment promoting love, trust and compassion also aids in your toddler's proper cognitive development.

Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies

There are herbal and homeopathic supplements that can aid in your toddler's cognitive development. Homeopathic remedies have been regulated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration since 1938. Homeopathic remedies treat symptoms by exposing the child to highly diluted forms of healing substances. Herbal supplements come from plants and can be administered through chewable tablets or liquid tinctures. Examples of herbal and homeopathic remedies that support brain function and the nervous system include ashwagandha, avena sativa and bacopa monniera. While herbal and homeopathic supplements are commonly deemed safe for adults, children and babies by the FDA, it is always smart to check with your toddler's pediatrician before administering any supplements to your child.

Healthy Sleep Habits

A natural approach to ensure proper cognitive development in your toddler is to structure an appropriate sleep schedule. According to the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers need between 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Prepare a comfortable sleep environment for your toddler that incorporates a safe bed, a darkened room and security objects like a blanket or stuffed animal. Keep your child's sleep schedule as regular as possible with nap and bedtimes occurring at the same time every day. Adequate sleep is a natural and essential component to your toddler's ability to develop of his cognitive skills as well as his physical growth.

Provide a Stimulating Environment

Toddlers need an environment that provides ample exposure to stimulating objects and activities in order for cognitive development to be fully supported. Keep your child's play area stocked with age-appropriate activities that require thought and concentration. Encouraging your toddler to focus on the same activity for longer amounts of time will assist his cognitive development as well. Teaching your child to follow through with an activity from beginning to end, recognizing and praising the effort he made to complete the activity and teaching him to clean things up are all natural techniques for guiding your toddler's cognitive development in a positive way. Play games like peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek and any search-and-find game to promote further development of your toddler's intellect.

About the Author

With more than 10 years experience in early childhood education, Melinda Kedro holds a Masters degree in education, teaching certification through the Association Montessori Internationale and is a licensed childcare provider through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

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