Do you Have a Forgetful child: Seven tips to Boost your Child's Memory
Here are seven easy ways to help your children build memory skills and by doing that their Executive Functioning Skills. Executive Functioning skills are the skills that allow you to get the job done, the part of the brain that helps you recognize and organize the steps to do the job.
- Have the children visualize what the finished product looks like, and then have them draw it. I then usually have them tell me what they need to complete the task, and then together we put the steps in the right order. Once the kids get really good at it they can do it all in their head and just walk you through it.
- Have Children be the Teacher
- Your child will really have to understand the information before they will be able to teach it to you. I like to let the kids I work with that have good imaginations teach their stuffed animals, or their imaginary friends. I make toys they like to lug around with them work for me rather than against me.
- Use Games that use Visual Memory
- Games like Crazy 8’s, Skipbo, go fish, memory, war, and so many more. Any board game will work because they will have to remember the rules, and move to make next. There are lots of games I just make up with the kids that use visual memory like , I draw a simple picture ( two shapes) show them for a certain length or time and then hide it and they have to draw from memory. I am hitting visual memory, motor planning and spacial perception all in one activity. You could do it with objects on a tray and then cover the tray up and have them draw everything on the tray.
- Encourage Active Reading
- Use things like high lighters on instructions of homework, sticky notes in books, even reading out loud will help the information move from short term to long term memory where your child can more easily access it. I use sticky notes all the time when reading stories for different reasons depending on the child’s goal, sometimes it is to highlight the story line, sometimes to high light character’s feelings, and sometimes we actively guess what is going to happen next.
- Chunk information into Smaller Unit
- Much like I do when I have big project I break it down into more manageable tasks. With some of my kids I will write the steps on separate pieces of paper for them to put in order, with others I use pictures. I get my higher level kids to come up with the steps and put them in order themselves. I use visual schedules the most because I am sure the majority of my kids can recognize the images and follow them. In my experience older kids benefit from graphic organizers such as webs or headings with various levels of bullets. Chore charts are also something I recommend for many families as they are easy to create if you don’t have the time to do that they are pretty easy to find in a store.
- Make Learning Multisensory
- Read, write, draw, say it out loud, or do something fun while explaining/practicing the information, this will help store it in the child’s long term memory. Almost all of my kids have done at least one speech program finding pictures in the rice bin, or covering them in shaving cream. I love teaching verbs while on the play ground or during the obstacle courses, their bodies remember it better that way. Another example would be most of my clients have learned their phone number by a combination jumping on the numbers in order like a hop scotch, and throwing a ball at the numbers taped to the wall.
- Help them make Connections
- Use associations whenever possible to connect different details. For example I like to use rhyming words to go with names of the people the kids see regularly. I am Kit Kat, (all of my clients and co workers call me Kat) and my co worker is Anna Banana. Coaches are often related to the sport they specialize in, or