Wednesday, March 17, 2021

11 Easy Steps To Increase Your Kid's Working Memory



No more forgetting things! If you want your child to excel academically, then you need to teach them how to increase their working memory. Here are some easy steps that anyone can do.

"Kids' brains grow and develop in the first few years of life, laying down the foundation for everything they will be able to do. But it's not just size that matters: what kids learn in those formative years will have a big impact on their brain development," writes Blythe Corbett, M.D. in an article for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, Healthy Children.

A strong working memory is essential for building academic skills in reading, writing, and math. But it also has a big impact on your child's physical health, emotional well-being, social skills, and more. 

Here are 11 easy steps to increase your kids' working memory:

1: Focus on the task at hand.

Working memory isn't just about remembering things; it's also about knowing when and how to remember things. This means that you must teach them to focus on the current task at hand to improve their working memory. This is an essential concept for kids of all ages but a beneficial skill for children with ADHD or ADD (attention deficit disorder). The reason? These disorders are characterized by distractibility and trouble focusing.

This means that your child should be sitting in his or her assigned seat and paying attention to the teacher in the classroom. Using a seating chart is an effective way to help your child learn to focus on just one task. At home, this means encouraging your kids to pay attention during homework time. Whether it's a specific homework area or a set amount of time, put aside dedicated time for homework to prevent distraction and improve working memory.

2: Practice spatial orientation tasks

Spatial orientation is another critical component of working memory. It refers to a person's ability to perceive and manipulate objects in three-dimensional space. A wide range of spatial orientation skills develops over time, including the ability to mentally use things, judge distances between items, and estimate the amount of space taken up by an object. As with focus, if they are developing these skills early, it will help your child improve working memory throughout his or her life.

One way to help your child develop spatial orientation skills is to engage in everyday activities that require mental manipulation of objects. These include building with blocks and LEGOs (and encouraging your child to build something new every day), stacking and unstacking objects, lining up toys in order by size, sorting items into groups by shape, color, or age, putting clothing on stuffed animals and so on.

3: Multitask when possible.

Multitasking refers to the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously instead of sequentially. Although multitasking seems like it's a relatively new concept, the truth is, this skill has been around for centuries. Just think back to the days of spinning cloth or cooking on the hearth. And although you might not have thought about it in this way, multitasking is still prevalent in everyday activities such as talking while driving or listening to music while getting dressed.

Although researchers are divided on whether multitasking is right for you, there's no denying that it does improve working memory. By showing your child how to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, you can teach him or her to juggle items within short-term memory. Kids who are engaged in numerous activities have better working memory skills than those who do not.

4: Teach your child working memory mnemonics.

A mnemonic is any technique that uses the power of language to enhance memory. In this case, it means teaching your child to associate sounds with specific letters and numbers to remember more complex information. For example, mnemonics can help kids remember the planets' order (for instance, My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nectarines) or the US presidents (for example, Abraham Lincoln). 

NOTE: The following memorization techniques apply to both adults and children. However, you will need to transfer them to your child's level.

The simplest way to use mnemonics is to create a short phrase or sentence that includes a sound cue for each item you want to remember. This can be challenging, so start small. For instance, you might want to teach your child the order of the alphabet. The phrase "A is for apple / B is for boy / C is for cat" works well. You can also use mnemonics to help your child remember phone numbers or addresses in a certain order. The key is to use a collection of sounds that have a logical relationship to each other. For example, you could make the acronym "B-U-S" for your home address, "1410 N. W. 10th Street."

Research shows that students can improve memory by learning and using mnemonic devices. A study published in Science Magazine found that using rhyming mnemonic devices led children to remember six times as many random pairs of animals as children who were not taught these techniques. This shows how the power of language can be used to improve working memory.

The study also showed that children who were taught to associate simple visual images with common nouns were able to remember twice as many pairs as children who were not taught this technique. This is a great way to help your child remember names at school or social events.

It's important to note that mnemonic devices are not effective if they're memorized. In other words, your child should not simply repeat the phrases you provide without understanding their underlying meaning. Instead, help your child to decode and understand the mnemonic cues correctly.

5: Help your child to strategize, and problem solve

Strategizing involves using clear thinking when faced with a challenge or problem. If you want your child to strategize, teach him the difference between strategies to use for low-exertion situations versus high-exertion ones. Strategies for low-exertion problems are neat, orderly solutions that can be approached step by step. Strategies for high-exertion problems are more haphazard, but they still follow a logical progression.

For instance, think of how you would use a strategy to solve the following problem: "I'm late to meet my friends for dinner." A low-exertion strategy might be "I'll finish work early and then take the bus to the restaurant." A high-exertion strategy might be "I'll run out of work early and drive my car to the restaurant. I'll park on the corner and run inside to meet them as they're getting seated."

6: Help your child to focus on short-term goals.

Children with good working memory should be encouraged to set realistic goals and work steadily towards them. For example, if your child's goal is to get good grades in school, he should break that goal down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Once a day, he can write down the top three things to do at school. This keeps his mind focused on the big picture even when he's busy doing small tasks.

7: Help your child to think more abstractly.

A major factor in your child's ability to solve problems is his ability to think abstractly. The following analogy can be used to help your child become more sophisticated at thinking abstractly:

When you first move into a new house, you might put all of your possessions into boxes labeled "kitchen utensils," "bedroom dresser," or "books." After a few months, you've filled all of the boxes with things. To be able to put your clothes away, you'll need to label the boxes differently, such as "silverware," "dishes," and books." This gives you more flexibility in how you use your possessions. It also allows you to think about doing something unexpected, like using a frying pan as a vase. Similarly, your brain needs the flexibility to be able to solve problems that require different levels of thinking.

You will not be able to use this flexibility if your mind gets stuck inside one way or another thinking. Your child can become "stuck" in their ways of thinking for many reasons. It might be due to rigidly following rules that don't make sense on the surface, like always doing what dad says and never questioning his opinion. It might also be because they haven't been exposed to different ideas and different ways of viewing the world.

8: Help your child to visualize things. 

Use the following trick to help your child to learn to play an instrument. You can use it for any subject. Visualize something that represents it. For example, you could show your child a picture of a piano keyboard and explain the notes of the piano using a similar pattern. If your child is learning Spanish, you could explain the Spanish alphabet using different objects, such as letters or pictures representing different letters. You can also use objects or actions to help your child understand things like fractions and measurements more easily.

9: Play cards with your kids

There are a lot of memory card games you can play with your kids. These games are a great way to help them practice their memory skills. They should be played on a regular basis and kept fun! 

Also, encourage your kids to do things that exercise their memory. To ensure their success, you should encourage your children to visualize objects and think about space and distance. When you're done, have them explain to you what they are thinking about. This will help them improve their memory skills significantly!

10: Break information into bite-sized pieces To Increase Your Kids Working Memory

For kids, it can be helpful to take complex information and think about "chunks" of the information as opposed to the entire thing at once. For example, if your child is learning a new math problem, have them break it into smaller parts. They could write, read or draw out the numbers one at a time. Once they have each number in place, they can think about how to multiply them together and find an answer.

Breaking information into pieces like your phone number or your address can help your child to remember them. For example, if your phone number is 555-1234, then your child should imagine a phone in a room. The number one is represented by the first wall in the room. The number two is represented by the second wall and so on. This way, your child will be able to remember their number more easily.

11: Encourage your child to teach others what he or she knows

Learning is best when you teach someone else what you have learned. Explaining something involves taking in information and mentally categorizing it. This helps you to learn information more thoroughly and accurately. Just make sure that the person your child is teaching is someone who is willing to ask questions about the information your child has just taught them!

If you want to improve your child's working memory, use these suggestions to teach him or her how to improve their short-term memory. If you have any experiences using these techniques with your kids, please share them in the comments section below!

If you like reading posts and engaging in discussions like this, please visit the Baby Steps Preschool Blog. This blog covers a variety of topics including early childhood education, parenting, and life skills.

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