Unknown to many, working memory challenges are not only experienced by elders; sometimes, even your little one can suffer from them, too. For example, the last time she asked to help you water the plants and you told her to get the watering pot but then, she never came back. You went inside your home and find out that she’s watching YouTube and forget about helping you.
Things like this happen and if not treated, might cause more trouble.
Basically, working memory is like holding temporary information in your brain to help you finish a task. Let’s say, you're asking your 10-year-old kid to write a grocery list so you dictate each item one by one, then you pause until your child is done writing the first products. Those items are being held in their short-term memory until your grocery list is completed.
That being said, working memory is an active memory that lasts for a short time. The amount of information that it can hold is limited and temporary, and your little one is using this all the time.
Working memory is important when doing a math problem or when following a series of instructions. If you suspect your child’s having a problem with it or you just want to enhance their short-term memory, here are easy tips to try:
Let Your Child Visualize Your Instructions
Rather than just letting your child listen to your directions, let them create a picture of what it looks like. For instance, if you want them to make a simple fruit salad, let them visualize how they would do it, which ingredient would go first, and what the final product looks like. You may even ask them to draw it. Working on your kid’s visualization skills can help them remember it better.
Play Visual Memory Activities
There are a lot of visual memory activities and games to try that could help enhance your child’s attention. You can try the classic board games where you match cards with similar objects; you can also find random words or numbers while on the streets, such as the license plates. Recite the letters and numbers first and let your child do it without looking at the plate.
Improve Memory Using Cards
Go Fish, Uno, Crazy Eights, and the like are not only fun; it also enhances your child’s memory in more ways than one. First, the player has to remember the cards that they have and second, they also have to take note of the cards that the other players played.
If you’re not familiar with Uno (don’t worry, you’re not alone), you can watch the video below:
Ask Your Child To Teach You
Okay, so you’re the one telling your child an instruction; how come he has to do it this time? Well, the answer is simple. Asking your child to teach you to do a certain thing, let’s say dribbling a ball, involves working with information. When you let your child teach you how to do a certain skill, they have to remember how it’s done, thus they learn how to process details. Through this, they are improving several aspects, such as short-term memory and communication.
Practice Active Reading
When it comes to reading, there are two kinds to deal with: passive and active. When you say passive reading, you are simply reading words. Active reading, on the other hand, requires reading ideas. This also helps the reader understand the context even more.
Encouraging a child to practice active reading can be done by letting them read it out loud and by asking questions about it afterward. This approach does not only improve short-term memory but also long-term memories, too.
Use Multisensory Techniques
As the name suggests, a multisensory strategy is used when you want to teach your child using more than one sense.
This means that if you want your little one to remember how to do the task or enhance their working memory, you should not only trigger one sensory. Instead of just discussing and letting your child hear your directions, you can also ask them to make a list that they can look at afterward. You may also walk them around the room where they will fulfill the task. Therefore, you are triggering their sense of sight and hearing.
Cut The Information Into Smaller Groups
This method doesn’t only work in young children but also adults like us. Your mobile or security number is a good example. I mean, there’s a reason why there’s a hyphen in them. They are broken down into smaller groups so we can remember them easily.
The same thing when instructing a child; rather than giving it blow-by-blow, you can give it one at a time. You can also make a list or an organizer in bullet form and hand it over to your child.
These are just some of the tricks you can use when you want to improve your child’s working memory. If you have other techniques, please feel free to share them below.