Intellectual Development

What is Intellectual Development?

Intellectual development takes place as the child grows physically. She develops her motor skills and begins to interact with the environment. This interaction develops the mental capabilities of the child. As she grows older, there is a growth of understanding, memory, reasoning and language development of the child. This growth leads to changes in the behaviour of the child. These changes in behaviour represent the intellectual development of the child.

Intellectual Development

How does a baby's intellectual development take place?
  • Learning Through Senses
  • Communication
  • Language Development

How can you help your child's intellectual development?
  • Nutrition, Care and Attention
  • Increasing Interaction with the Environment
  • Learning Capacities
  • Classical Conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning
  • Habituation
  • Imitation

How does a baby's intellectual development take place?

Learning Through Senses

A newborn baby learns through his senses by touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing. Newborns prefers soft touches like gentle caressing or the feel of soft cotton. Soft touches communicate mother's love to the baby. Sense of taste is well developed. Foods to which the baby was exposed during pregnancy are the ones he prefers after birth. Baby's sense of hearing develops over the first year, and he will learn to track sounds. For the first 3 months, he will respond to a sound in front of him. By 6 to 12 months he will look towards a sound from behind or from any part of the room. Baby's sense of smell is well developed at birth, he prefers sweet smells and dislikes foul odours naturally. 

Sense of sight is not fully developed at birth. Baby is able to see about only 8 to 15 inches away, just enough to see mother's face when she feeds the baby. So naturally he loves looking at mother's face.


Crying is the first way of communication for babies. Babies cry out of hunger, pain, in response to a sudden noise or change of temperature while being undressed. The intensity of the cry may be high or low but the kind of sound made is almost same during the first two months. During the second or third month the sound of the cries change based on the need. The contexts that precede the baby's cry communicate what the baby is crying for. If the baby has not eaten for many hours the cry indicates he is hungry, if he had been awake for many hours then the cry means he is tired and a sharp piercing non-stop cry indicates he is in pain. After 3 months, it becomes easier for the mother to understand baby's communication because crying is replaced by specific actions like sucking of fingers when hungry and pulling and stiffening of legs when in pain.Baby communicates also through motor actions like kicking and using arms to reach for people and things they are interested in.

Language Development

The beginning stage of language development in infants is babbling. Babbling includes many sounds including two-lip sounds. This occurs during 4 to 6 months. From 7 to 12 months, the sound of babbling changes and baby's first words appear [ mama, bye-bye ]. Between 1 and 2 years he adds more words to his vocabulary every month. By two years the infant's vocabulary consists of roughly 200 to 250 words. Language development of children occurs gradually through interaction with people and the environment. The most important time for language development and learning to talk is the first few years of life.Learning later is possible but it is slower and more difficult.