How can I help my child retain information

A child with a good memory can retain information effectively. The ability to retain information is essential to childhood development. It is the foundation for a quality learning experience. A child who efficiently retains information will perform better at school because he will be able to assimilate and recall what he has been taught.

A common misconception is that some children are born with sharp memories; others are not. There are so many research-backed strategies you can use to improve your child’s memory. These strategies will boost his ability to retain information and remember them in a more efficient manner.

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Here are some:

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Questions, especially the open-ended type, are highly beneficial to childhood memory skills. They can give room for your child to play a more active role in his learning process. They promote critical thinking, which will boost your child’s brain power. Asking open-ended questions can also expand and improve vocabulary, usage of language and speech because it encourages your child to explain and describe.

Open-ended questions, as opposed to closed-ended questions, elicit more extended conversations by beginning each question with ‘how’, ‘what if’ and ‘why’. Examples of open-ended questions are: ‘What happened when…?’ or ‘Tell me about your…’.

Visualisation

Visualisation is the act of creating a mental picture in one’s mind. It is not limited to optics; visualisation utilises the entire five senses. It is of immense benefit because it improves attention-to-detail and stimulates the brain. Visualisation is a powerful memory-booster. It can create a multi-sensory learning environment, which supports encoding and retrieval processes.

To help your child visualise, ask him to create a mental picture of whatever he may have heard or read. For instance, you can ask your child to imagine a nest, and ask him to draw it.

Read: How do you tell if a child has a reading disability

Active Reading

Active reading will not only improve your child’s literacy, communicative and language skills but can give his memory a boost. As your child reads, his brain undergoes a form of ‘neurobiological’ exercise where different parts of his brain – like frontal lobe, prefrontal cortex, occipital lobe and Broca’s area – work in unison.

You can teach active reading skills in your child by :

  • Creating your child’s comfortable reading corner.
  • Reading with your child frequently.
  • Encouraging questions during reading sessions. 
  • Allowing your child to have free access to books in your house.
  • Going on a library visit weekly.
  • Making reading a fun-filled activity.
  • Showing a good example by being an active reader yourself.

Make learning stress-free

According to child psychology experts, stress can block information from flowing and can limit the brain’s ability to recall long-term memory. The key to boosting information retention in your child is by creating a relaxed, enjoyable and friendly environment before studying. For instance, before your child’s study time, you can play his favourite game or favourite song. This action will undoubtedly declutter your child’s brain networks, improve his memory and promote a de-stressed learning experience.

Read: What is the difference between a slow learner and learning disability

Memory games

Apart from sharpening critical thinking and exercising the brain, memory games are fun for children. They serve as visual aids and can help in memory retrieval. Some memory games (like Brainbox) develop shape and numerical recognition. They can also better your child’s problem-solving and spatial skills.

Memory games today exist in various platforms, and can even be accessed on smartphones for additional convenience. Examples are Memory kids, Match, Shape puzzle and Math racers. 

Play cards

Cards are among the oldest and exciting leisure activities. Since cards consist of numbers and shapes, they will surely enhance your child’s ability to recognise numbers and shapes. Cards improve memorisation and concentration skills because players need to remember numbers to play well. Card playing will also boost your child’s eye-hand coordination and is a fantastic way to learn strategic thinking.

Chunking

George Miller introduced the term ‘Chunking’ in 1956. Chunking is a psychological term that describes the act of breaking down information into smaller pieces. It is a way of organising information to improve remembrance and retention. Your child can benefit from the process. Complex or long lists can be further broken down into manageable and easy-to-recall units for better understanding and retention.

Read: Why does my child have a hard time remembering things

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