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Skills To Develop Your Child Memory

Skills To Develop Your Child Memory

Working memory refers to how we hold on to and work with information stored in short-term memory.
Kids use working memory to learn and follow directions.
You can build working memory games into your child’s daily life.

Does your child have a hard time keeping one bit of information in mind while doing something else? For example, you’re making spaghetti together, and your child’s in charge of the sauce. But your child leaves to answer a text and forgets to come back and stir. Working memory challenges can cause trouble with tasks like these.

Working memory refers to how we hold on to and work with information that short-term memory stores. (In the past, the term working memory was used interchangeably with short-term memory.) It’s part of a group of skills called executive function .
Kids use working memory all the time to learn. It’s needed for things like following multi-step directions or solving a math problem in your head. You can help your child improve working memory by building simple strategies into everyday life.

Work on visualization skills.
Encourage kids to create a picture in their mind of what they’ve just read or heard. For example, say you’ve asked your child to set the table for five people. Have your child imagine what the table should look like, and then draw it. As kids get better at visualizing, they can describe the image instead of drawing it.

Have your child teach you.
Being able to explain how to do something involves making sense of information and mentally filing it. Maybe your child is learning a skill, like how to dribble a basketball. Ask your child to teach you this skill. Teachers do something similar by pairing up students in class. This lets them start working with the information right away rather than waiting to be called on.

Try games that use visual memory.
There are lots of matching games that can help kids work on visual memory, like the classic game Concentration (or Memory) . You can also do things like give kids a magazine page and ask them to circle all instances of the word the or the letter a. License plates can also be a lot of fun. Take turns reciting the letters and numbers on a license plate and then saying them backwards, too.

Play cards.
Simple card games like Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish, and War can improve working memory in two ways. Kids have to keep the rules of the game in mind. They also have to remember what cards they have and which ones other people have played.

Encourage active reading. There’s a reason highlighters and sticky notes are so popular: Jotting down notes and underlining or highlighting text can help kids keep the information in mind long enough to answer questions about it. Talking out loud and asking questions about the reading material can also help with working memory. Active reading strategies like these can help with forming long-term memories, too.

Key Takeaways
Teaching kids ways to visualize thoughts can help improve their working memory.
Card games and other fun activities can help build working memory.
Finding ways to connect information can help your child with long-term memory as well as working memory.