If your child is having trouble remembering things in school or at home, you can help them with these simple ways so they can remember more easily and retain information for longer.
A lot of kids these days have trouble keeping their attention on one thing. They walk around during meal times, or fidget with toys when they should be doing their homework. No, he didn’t choose to ignore you. Yes, it’s probably normal. More often than not, you just have a forgetful child.
You don’t have to blame him or her though. Sometimes, their memory is the culprit because kids’ brains are also figuring out how to remember. Other times, they may have learning disabilities or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It’s common for many children experience difficulty with their working memory, or the ability to keep information in mind available for use. Some kids have a hard time recalling information, and often the problem goes unrecognized well into their adulthood.
Our kids will struggle with attention at some point, and this may have an effect on learning and academic success. So it’s important to understand how memory works and the ways we can strengthen memories with the following exercises.
Tips for the forgetful child
1. Provide a suitable place for study
Your forgetful child needs a place free from noise and other distractions, like a TV or the toy box. It’s a place that should be comfortable, so your child won’t get fidgety or antsy.
Let your child know when you’re about to tell them important information they need to remember. There are a number of things you can say like “I want you to remember this,” “And this is important,” or simply “Listen.”
You can make a count of the information you’d like your forgetful child to remember. You can say “There are eight planets, four of them are gas planets, four of them are rocky planets, and out of all of them, only one is habitable.”
4. Help them see the information’s relevance
Show your child how certain things are important in their lives. For example, if your child is struggling with math, help them see how addition help them save their allowance to buy the things they want. This is called providing a framework for information. Which brings us to…
5. Aim for comprehension rather than memorisation
Part of the reason why children forget certain information is because they’re often treated as mere facts or trivia. For example, instead of just testing your child about what chameleons do, tell them what they do and why they do it. Chameleons don’t just change colour for no reason at all, they change colour so they can hide from predators and communicate their moods (who knew?).
6. Engage their senses
If your forgetful child is beginning to read, for example, you can let them trace the letters with their fingers as they say the word out loud. Engage as many senses as you can!
You can’t just expect your forgetful child to suddenly remember everything they’re told. They’ll need to do a run-through first. It’s not testing them, but sort of holding their hand the first time. Let them repeat it verbally until they’ve memorised it.
8. Chill out and engage in humour
Learning doesn’t have to be serious, mums. Let your kids engage in the humorous side of learning. If they think there’s something silly about what they’re learning, emphasize the silliness! Perhaps they’ll learn it better. If you think something is silly about what they’re learning, or if you can make a joke out of it (dad-jokes are welcome!), go for it. Have a laugh at learning. It will also help dispel their anxiety.
9. Encourage creativity
Be creative and go beyond the page. You can do chants and rhymes (and rap!) to help them remember things through music. You can also create visual guides to lessons in order to help them have fun and remember beyond mere memorization.
10. Use mnemonics
If you’re not familiar with the term, a mnemonic is a memory device that aids in memory. It could be a string of letters, ideas, or any association that assists in remembering something.
You can use acronyms and silly phrases to remember certain lists of items. For example, you can use “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles” to remember the eight planets in order. (Sorry, if you haven’t been in the loop, Pluto isn’t considered a planet anymore.)
11. Create summarised/organised cheat sheets
For your child’s reference, you can put together an organised summary that they can study. It’s basically a cheat sheet, usually in list form, of their lessons. It will help them even more if you make the cheat sheets with them. The visceral process of creating it stays with them and creates useful associations that will jog their memory.
12. Get highlighters
Get your kids highlighters. You can even ask them to pick the colours they want! Highlighting their notes helps them focus on the important items in a sea of information. It will also help them when it’s time to re-read their notes.
Review certain tasks and test materials early and often. Don’t cram. Part of what makes it effective is constant practice way before hand. Learning shouldn’t be about the tests, but about how learning these things will help them grow. Think long term, rather than short term.
To help them review, you can put bits of information on index cards. Put the question on one side and the answer on another. Then test your child with the cards by taking one card from the top of the pile and asking them the question.
If they get it right, you can put that card in the “I know it” pile. Remind them that it’s okay if they forget! If they don’t know the answer, you can just put it in the bottom of the stack so they can try again later. And then you can do it as many times as they can or until all of the cards are in the “I know it” pile.
Don’t start with a large stack. Start with 10, so it will be manageable. They’ll gain confidence with each hurdle they overcome.
15. Ask your child what helps them remember things
Your child may have certain methods they use to remember things. So explore memory techniques with your forgetful child. Maybe they form pictures in their mind first when they remember things, or they think of the word itself. Perhaps they think of the sound the word makes in their minds. Encourage them to try memory techniques that work for them.
Be creative with your forgetful child
It helps to be creative in solving a forgetful child’s problem. Not only does it strengthen their memory, it also strengthens their bond with you.
Hopefully, these methods will help them learn new information quickly and retain it for longer. With your encouragement and lots of practice, you’ll soon be forgetting about having a forgetful child!