Is your child forgetful? Maybe he often misplaces his things, or when you ask him what happened in school or what story the teacher read to him, he simply says, ‘I forgot.’
Just like you help your child develop his motor skills or his reading skills, you can also improve his abiity to process and store different kinds of information. After all, it’s one of the key factors of school performance (where he’ll have to remember everything from numbers to history) and certainly something he will use even after he graduates! Read on for tips.
What your child needs to learn
Memory is actually quite a complex process and it’s understandable that a young child will struggle to help recall information. Skills include the ability to store information for a brief period (short term memory) and then for a few minutes while trying to solve a problem (active working memory) and then for a much more extensive time frame (long term memory).
Even something as simple as taking down notes from a blackboard involves different kinds of memory. He will have to remember the spelling of words (sequence of letters) and also be able to retain phrases so he doesn’t have to keep looking back between his notes and what he has to copy.
Teach him how to gather and share details
There is significant research that shows that children who talk a lot with their parents, and share specific details on what happened, tend to have better memory. That’s because the seemingly mundane activity of asking your child what he did in school, or his favorite part of the movie, already engages the two most important aspects of memory: observation, and retrieval of facts.
So always ask your child questions! For example, after a movie, ask him ‘What was your favorite part?’ Or when he comes home from school, you can ask specific questions like ‘Who did you eat lunch with today?’ or ‘What did you and your friend do in the playground?’
Play memory games
There are board games and even online games that help develop memory. In the car you can also try games like ‘I am going on a picnic and I am taking…’ with each person adding an item and repeating what the others said before him.
Teach memory strategies
Factor in your child’s natural learning style. For example if your child is musically inclined then teach him how to memorize facts to the tune of a favorite song. Or if your child is visual, explain things with pictures, and then use those pictures as a visual cue during studying.
Work in sections
If your child has to memorize a poem or a few lines for a school play you can help him break it into parts and then learn it in chunks.
Practice again and again
Some things can only be learned through repetition. Since many children will grow bored with this, show support (and teach perseverance and a love for learning) by helping and encouraging him along the way. Repeat the words with him, have him highlight and rewrite difficult words and recite them together. (read more tips on how to raise a child who likes to do homework!)
Photo from www.catalystwebworks.com