child development

Informative ‘How to improve a child working memory’?

By: Elizabeth Abiona

Advice on growing working memory in a child

Memory lost! Sorry memory crash! Memory erased! Memory not detect! Memory Interrupt! All is but an adjective use to qualify memory that is malfunctioning or not working perfectly. All this terminology is used in machine learning.

But, is this applicable to human being?

Unboxing childhood care’ development, good parenting and childhood education trends

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It’s a question that needs to be look into critically from the angle of how our body functions. Nevertheless, memory is not a physical part of the body but applicable where human brain exist working with mind. Meaning, “every human being has a working memory which can be either short term memory or long term memory”. And as such can be functioning when properly used or not functioning where it’s not effectively handled or put into use.

Working Memory Meaning

Working memory (Short Term Memory) in human being can simply mean how individual is capable to hold unto and work with information that are stored in short term memory. And it’s what children use to learn and as well follow direction. It is something that can be develop where and when necessary.

Talking from experience; a child can suffer from ineffective working memory, that is to say’ human being memory can be depleted. And, if this happen such individual tends to easily forget things and may not be able to follow simple lines of instructions. 

Parents and Teachers as Child Custodian

Parents need to watch as kids grow to find out if a child is experiencing this. Better still, have you ever noticed that your child have difficulties in keeping small bits of information in mind or easily forget something or find it hard to recollect something you told him or her?

Take for example, you have asked a child to pick a watering can and rain boot from store but only for the child to come back with one item forgetting the other. Sure, you will be forced to resend him or her back to complete the task; this could simply mean such child is facing memory challenges.

Watch out if same keep repeating itself it reveals that the child is facing depleted executive function called working memory. Else, most parents think a child may be too playful and that is why such is happening; sorry! most cases it’s not so.

Another typical example is in the class base setting where a child is asked to recite a poem that has being taught several time’ while others do amidst but he/she is found lagging behind, this could simply denote that one of the child executive function (working memory) is not active enough.

Working memory as part of Executive function

Working memory which forms part of the group of skills called executive function is very vital in children live. It is a powerful tool the children need all the time to learn and assimilate. It is required for kids to be able to follow lines of instructions to achieve a task, direction to complete a specific goal or solving a math problem off hand. In fact, this form ability to be able to retain a piece of information and to easily recall it when required.

Executive Function

This can simply be described as a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self control. Executive function are skill required to be used daily to learn, work, manage daily life and other related things. However any difficulties with either part of the executive function can make it hard for children to focus, handle emotion, follow direction or line of instruction among others

Speaking from experience “Working Memory” 

My child care and teaching experience has enhanced my knowledge respect to this vital areas in kids’ developmental period. I am able to find out that many kids who are likely not able to easily catch up in class activities most time suffers or lack this skills (working memory). And as such when discover the child needs to be helped out as fast as the parent and teachers could.

A highly skilled teacher, educator or therapist is able to discover this on time during interactive section with a child and has well parents are not left out in that our children spend more time with us than teacher.

What to do if you noticed a child working memory is not active?

Kindly, if you have noticed this or find out that a child in your care is suffering or experiencing this related challenges, below are the proven steps to help the child overcome such challenges.

The highlighted steps below are ways I’d help many children overcome this challenge. This can be easily done when parents and teachers work in harmony.

Working alongside child’s’ parent helps to achieve good results in many case scenario of my experience; meaning ‘if you are a teacher kindly draw the attention of the kids’ parent to this and if you are a parent that have found out this, it is advisable to bring it to the knowledge of the teacher’. Working hand in hand (Teacher and Parent) will enhance effective implementation and easily yield result in good time.

How to improve a child (Working Memory)

  • Extensive work on skills of visualization
  • Have your child teach you
  • Engage the child in game that  use  visual memory
  • Play board games and card
  • Involve the child in active reading and summarization
  • Break information into smaller bits
  • Make it multisensory
  • Help make meaning with connection through illustration
  • Let him be on good diet that enhance brain

Let discuss this point one after the other

Extensive work on skills of visualization

Visualization is a concept engulf in imagination. The formation of center image of something. Being able to imagine things the way they are or can be; will breed creative and imaginative power which in turn can enhance retentive memory.

The short term memory in question can easily function when a kid is subject to creative thinking e.g. in a class base setting, a teacher’ after a lesson in a subject, ask a child to create a picture of what he/she have just learnt.

Or at home, a guardian can read a story with a child and after ask the child to narrate the story in his/her own understanding and tell the lesson learnt from it.

You can as well take such child outside where he can see works of nature like birds, trees, vegetation etc. and there after ask the child to picture in his/her mind what has been seen and draw it inside a paper and do the painting. And as he/she improve in visualizing things, then can easily starts describing things the way it is in lieu of drawing.

Let the child teach you whatever he/she has learnt   

Have the child learn a skill that align with is age or stage, it can be also be how to implement things or carry out an assignment. And thereafter he/she has master it, ask the child to teach what he/she has learnt to you in right order or implementation plan. This can be carry out in class base setting by teacher pairing the child up with who already understand the scope of work or at home where the parent takes lead.

Doing this, will make the child start working easily with information. It will in turn aids the child to process information with ease and in right order with or without supervision. Fact is that the ability to explain how to carry out something depict making real sense of the data in the information and mentally absorbing the facts in it.

Engage the child in playing games that demand using visual memory 

Technology has really improve the gaming industry and lots of good games have be design that has the capability of helping develop kids’ visual memory. From the angle that most games has rules that guide playing it, this can make the child to retain the guiding rules like information in is short memory. Respect to this are interactive games like Jigsaw puzzle, Scrabble, chess, monopoly to mention but few; but do not all this is applicable where the child is of age .

Other related games that can be introduce from the angle of playing at home can be to ask the child to visit a part of the house; may be kitchen, room, store etc. and look round to see objects or items kept in different place.

To make it effective you can list the items that need to be identify and bid the child to take note of wherever they are kept. Thereafter, ask the child to visit the location see the items in question and return back to you. Then you can start to ask the child to say specifically where those items are as you mentioned it one after the order. Give a score to each that is correct or give a sweat for as many that he is able to visualize and tell exactly where it is.

How to improve a child working memory
Playing game to help improve a child working memory

Play Cards and Board game together

Cards and other board game like chess, scrabble etc. too are no exception to rule guiding the conduct of playing it and can as well improve a child working memory in many ways. Respect to cards as the serve, it is of utmost important to take cognizance of the card and also remember when need to use it arise and as well remember what card has been play by the opponent.

And in case of board games like chess understanding moves call for critical thinking to know what the opponent is planning to do and so moving of each and every piece demand visualizing the side effect of making the move. 

Scrabble in its’ uniqueness will makes the child to remember spellings of words and how it can be positioned to make good scores. Visualizing the letters you need pick to form a word is another way the working memory can be put to effective use while playing this game. Thinking is enhance, cognitive can be as well polished if this game is often played.

Involve the child in active reading and Summarizing   

While reading is taking place, either of a story book, novels, readers and the like; making use of tool like highlighter and sticky notes are vital to be use to mark points to be noted.

A child can be trained to make use of this tools to mark or jot down important points which can be easily subject to review. In other words this will make the child to take note and keep in mind the jot or underline information. This in turn make the working memory to flash back at the information during and after reading until it is memorized.

Reading out loud and interactive reading can also help develop the working memory it will not only enhance the short term memory but also have positive impact on the long term memory that will help the child to easily recall what information is absorbed after a long period if the need to use it arise

Break information to smaller fragments

Talking from experience, children get easily confused when they are overload with information; and except one understand this, effective communication can’t be established between parent child relationship and teacher pupils relationship.

Seeing from this angle, parent and teacher can help a child with working memory ordeals by breaking down information to smaller pieces. Simple task is better than complex one. Making sure that line of instructions is disseminate one after the other.

In situation where there is need to give more than one line of instruction or multitask, you should endeavor to write it down or administer same one at a time. Use of images or graphics can also go a long way to show steps and direction to follow. Something like a flow chart is applicable and a very powerful tool to in time like this. 

Active use of multisensory

This is a strategy that involve helping the child to process information with multiple sense. And this can help a child boost working memory. To achieve this, you have to use different methods to explain simple task.

Write down in paper, read it out to his/her hearing, ask him/her to repeat the instruction after you, help to achieve the tasks or instruction interactively when and where necessary. Always help the child to picture everything you involve him/her in her mind and you should query her taught to know is following and can remember every piece of information connected with the activities.

Make real time connections

I emphasis practical ways of doing things than theory. However, both are required in situations like this to help working memory in kids. Creating medium to link information real time theoretically and practically with what can be seen, feel, hear, touch will go a long way. Meaning direct association with activities you want children to master can make them easily connect and have a memorable experience that cannot be easily forget.

Grabbing such child attention with fun and what is interesting is a good take. Stories are other tools that can be used to brush up working memory in kids as much as children like listening to tales. This help them to use their imagination to picture what the tales is all about and as such can help boost their working memory. This in turn will make them connect information and also forming and retrieving information for short and long term use.

Seeking Divine Intervention

Of course this is very important. Seeking God face respect to anything good in life we wish to achieve is very paramount. I will not fail to emphasis on this because it is through Him you can get divine guidance to help the child out and it is also through Him all prayers are answered.

He alone giveth and taketh; He owns the key to knowledge wisdom and understanding. And to crown your efforts. Pray for, pray with and also meditate in the word of God with the child facing the ordeals. And by so doing I am 100% sure God will crown your efforts in good timing.

Meditating in the word of God to enhance working memory

Parents Teacher activities to help develop working memory in a child

Working out solutions in time like this demand patience, simplicity love and caring and time.

A special attention is required to note down how the child involve is improving. An effective communication between parent teacher is highly required as well as good rapport, as this will enhance medium and enabling environ to carry out text on the child involve and also to further device best means to help the child out.

Take for example, a parent write a little note to say thanks to the teacher’ give to the child to keep same in bag to be deliver to teacher at school. And while the child is about to depart, the parent remind the child; please ‘remember to give the note inside your bag to your teach immediately you get to the school’.

The teacher at school meet with the child to see if the child remember’ else the teacher sound a reminder interrogatively’ like, did Mom or Fad sends any greeting to me through you? This will make the child to start seeing the importance of keeping things in the memory.

Other ways is asking the child to recite poems, say today’s date, recites multiplication tables, tell story, say the names of pupils in his/her class, watch films and narrate the characters etc. all this are capable of helping the child develop working memory(Short term memory alertness.

The above mentioned are some ways I help many children escape the ordeals of working memory and yields positive results. To a degree, it take some time and high level of patience working interactively with the child and also my love for kids grow passionately anytime I am helping to solve or help them overcome one challenge or the other.  

It is a call to serve, it required you being very analytic, agile, logical and other related skills to see which areas need to be touch, best approach to use, managing other challenges found out during the process and suggesting to parent best methods that suits individual child due to their uniqueness. I am sure of success with any child in my encounter with this few strategy and many more that may unveils as the world is developing.  

Parents also read: Effective ways to improve child memory retention

You found this write up educating and want to help other children going through the same ordeals, kindly share with parents. Have you comments to compliment or questions, kindly use our comment box.

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Thanks for reading      

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