Home > Ask Our Experts > How Long Do Young Children Take to Process Information?

How Long Do Young Children Take to Process Information?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 29 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Foundation Stage Children Cognitive

Q.

When using open ended questions to young children (Early years/Foundation stage) - how long in general does it take for a child to process that information? Ie. How long a wait do you wait to add more to the question?

(K.C, 13 July 2009)

A.

Your question is an excellent one and no doubt, one that many teachers and parents ask as they want to ensure children have the best environment to develop cognitive learning skills. However, the answer is not a simple one and varies depending on many factors – as we will soon see.

Understanding the Foundation Stage

In the foundation stage, kids will already have emerged from a huge range of diverse backgrounds and learning experiences. The aim in this stage is to enhance and build upon these experiences by giving kids the right learning tools and skills to help them succeed both in school and in life.

Children will learn to separate facts from opinion while also brainstorming and learning how to develop their ideas. They will learn how to think of ways to form solutions to problems, set goals and make predictions.

Processing Information and Answering Questions

Most experts agree that children need the time and space to think about a question before they can provide an answer. They will need to prioritise and balance out the pro's and con's as well as have the space and time to speak too. They need space to explain problems and ideas along with aspects of the question they may not sufficiently understand.

That all being said, there is no definitive time required that experts agree is a standard for allowing children space to think. While space is recommended, this should be given with respect for various 'cues' that a child shows to demonstrate cognition. What this means is that you will need to regard the question and answering as a mutual process whereby you respond to the signs of cognition – verbal or physical.

Paying Attention to Cues

A child might show confusion or perhaps verbally indicate misunderstanding of the question. Each child brings his or her own background and personal experiences into the equation. Combined with the specifics of the question asked, this background will play a role in how much time a child needs to understand the question and provide a response. The level of depth required could be significant for one child while another may be familiar with the language and subject matter such that a response is quite rapid.

Showing Encouragement

Others will need support, encouragement or additional resources. So as you can see, enough time and space are important but instead of approaching this topic with a stopwatch, we can all do well by using a child's individual cues to develop cognitive learning skills.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I had brain trauma as a child from the age of ten yrs oldafter falling from a swing park shute in the early 70s as a resulti have problems remembering things in generaland I have a slight affliction down left side of body ,I am now 53yrs old and wondered if I could get help retrain the memory side that had been damaged all those yrs ago I am certainly not looking for sympathy as I have overcome a lot since then all I want to do is remember things as I found it hard at school and college from an exam point of veiwis it possible as the brain is so unpredictable could you please help.....kind regards carolann Watson.not
freckles - 29-Nov-15 @ 10:05 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Alex2017
    Re: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
    Hi, for many years now I am suffering severe ocd. I cannot drive car anymore, and also I get some new symptoms. Things I struggle…
    24 April 2017
  • Alex
    Re: How Does Language Acquisition Happen?
    This is a very one-sided article and only takes a nativist view into account, can be misleading for someone who has no…
    21 January 2017
  • Soulless
    Re: Savant Syndrome
    I've been able to dream the future since I was a child. Others have always told me it's just deja vu or they'll congratulate me on having a grand…
    23 August 2016
  • bj17
    Re: Literacy and Your Brain
    Does anyone have the source for more information on the changes in the brain as guerrillas learn to read?
    11 February 2016
  • pampam
    Re: How to Get Great Exam Results Using Exam Technique
    pls can some one tell me the clues to pass my exam and be the first am tired of 7th position
    29 January 2016
  • Abraham
    Re: Is Intelligence Inherited
    Peter, your comment is a sign of being not intelligent. Otherwise by that logic we'd all have black skin...Two words, GENETIC…
    3 December 2015
  • freckles
    Re: How Long Do Young Children Take to Process Information?
    I had brain trauma as a child from the age of ten yrs oldafter falling from a swing park shute…
    29 November 2015
  • BrainSkills
    Re: How to Develop Empathy Skills
    Andrea - Your Question:Hello, my partner doesn't understand what empathy means, and he doesn't know how to explain his feelings…
    27 November 2015
  • Andrea
    Re: How to Develop Empathy Skills
    Hello, my partner doesn't understand what empathy means, and he doesn't know how to explain his feelings either. I've tried to…
    25 November 2015
  • JS77
    Re: Telekinesis
    I'm Jennifer Sim from Malaysia and I get your contact via Google Search. I need help and I'm going to tell you about myself in summary: Ok, I have…
    22 July 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the BrainSkills website. Please read our Disclaimer.