A child’s memory grows with time, and with proper reinforcement, you can increase it. Here are various techniques you can try.
One lazy afternoon, I settled myself in front of the telly to enjoy Prehistoric Park, a National Geography programme on dinosaurs with my three-year-old son, thinking I’d have to help him with some of the difficult to pronounce names.
When he started rattling off about Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, and Terradactyl - the names of the dinosaur species, and their distinctive features, my jaw dropped.
How does a three-year-old remember such complex names? I wondered, brimming with motherly pride.
Two days later, I came home to find my son watching the telly again. I asked him what he was watching and he gave me a blank look. He honestly could not remember what he had watched in the past one hour.
That got me worried. How is he going to handle the pressurising workload of school if he has ‘selective’ memory? What is memory? How can I help my young son remember facts and figures? Is interest the only contributing factor to him remembering the names of the dinosaurs? What can I do to build his memory power?
How Memory Works in a Child
I immediately Googled my way to Memory and here’s what I found. Memory is our ability to store, retain and recall information. We create neuron pathways to store the information. Hence, the more specific the neuron pathway, the stronger is the memory.
According to Judy Nolte, Editor-in-Chief of American Baby (Aug29, 2008, CBS), most adults do not remember any specific events before the age of three. Scientists call this period, childhood amnesia. Memory is very short and specific before the age of three. Such short-term memory may explain why I need to remind my son to pull the flush and wash his hands after going to the toilet each time!
The good news is that a child’s memory grows with time, and with proper reinforcement, you can strengthen his or her memory. Some of the reinforcements such as associations, repetition, constant reviews, and games like “peek-a-boo” are already old friends to us.