How to improve children’s working memory: train children’s brains


Working memory is the ability to keep information in mind while performing complex tasks. A young child is able to perform simple tasks – sharpen a pencil when asked – while a middle school student can remember the expectations of many teachers.

Since students with attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADD) and learning disabilities often have short-term memory problems, it is important to reduce the amount of routine information they need to learn. memory. Keeping their memory free for the key part of the task ahead is essential.

Parents and teachers can help students with ADHD develop strategies to remember more and, more importantly, to regularly use the strategies they have developed.

How to improve working memory in children at school

Write homework. Write each assignment on the board in the same place each day, so students know where to find it. Children with ADHD may not listen or pay attention when you give them oral instructions – and you can’t rely on them to always remember the instructions.

Make checklists. One way to reduce thesis demands is to provide your class with a list of the steps required to complete an assignment. Instructions should be brief.

[Take This Test: Does Your Child Have a Working Memory Deficit?]

Find out what they heard. Have students with poor working memory repeat the homework instructions and clarify any parts they may have forgotten.

Allow time at the end of class for students to write homework in their assignment books. Make sure children with ADHD do what you tell them to. Fun visual reminders can also help. For an essay, for example, have each student trace their hand on a piece of paper, then write the name of part of the essay on each finger: thesis statement, topic sentences for the first one, the second and third paragraph, and conclusion.

Make eye contact with a child before giving him an assignment in class.

Maintain homework on the school website. Parents of children with ADHD depend on this information to make sure their children know what to do.

Speak slowly and provide information in small units. With too much information at once, a child with poor working memory quickly loses track. She may still work for the first few minutes of the lesson after you move on.

[Click to Download: 11 Tips for Redirecting Focus]

Make the lectures interactive. To help children with low working memory remember something important, structure the lesson to include their answers. For example, when you are teaching a math lesson, you can encourage students to volunteer to share what they have learned about fractions, division, or any other topic that day. Repeating a key point will help anchor it in their memories.

Use wild and wacky strategies. Presenting information in a typical way may not grab a student’s attention, but a curved ball can help grab it for better remembering later.

Use brain breaks or movements and get some exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps students think more clearly. So, rather than asking students to raise their hands to respond, you can ask them to do show jumps near their chairs. You can also encourage movement by letting the children walk to the water cooler for a break.

Have a routine for handing in homework. Some teachers ask students to place their completed work on their desks as soon as they sit down for class, then check off in their notebooks that homework has been done. Another idea: to make the homework presentation the “class exit ticket” at the end of the day. Stand by the door and pick it up as the students leave. As you can imagine, children will comply when the alternative is to stay in school one more minute.

Discuss with the students what to do if they forget something. Assign – or ask students to choose – a study buddy they can talk to if they have forgotten what they are supposed to do for their homework or if they cannot remember what they are supposed to do for their homework. class.

Use an analog clock during lessons to help your students manage their time. They will be able to keep track of how much time has passed and what is left.

Draw attention to due dates and key concepts. Post them, check them frequently, and remind parents and students of them in home notes, newsletters, or school voicemail. For essential themes provided during teaching, use clues such as “This is important! It also helps to frame important information with numbers, for example “Remember 5 things”.

Have students design their own “tickler systems” – ways to remember things to remember (license, money for lunch, sports clothes). This could lead to a class discussion, to give students the opportunity to share the strategies that work for them.

How to improve working memory at home

Assign a designated place for your child to put important things – house keys, wallet, sports equipment. As soon as he comes home from school, make sure he puts these things in their place. A reward for following – or a penalty for not – will strengthen the habit of staying organized.

Create a reminder checklist to make sure your child has everything they need to bring to school. At first, watch her go through the checklist to make sure she puts each item in her backpack. Don’t repeat what’s on the list, but ask him to tell you (this helps transfer information from your working memory to his). Have your child use the checklist when he finished his homework the night before, to avoid rushing in the morning.

Create and use task lists yourself, so your child understands that this is a lifelong coping strategy. Life is too complicated to expect children to memorize everything!

Brainstorm with your child how they can remember important things. Can he write it on the back of his hand, program his smartphone to remind him of it, ask friends with better memories to invite him?

Homework routines to improve working memory

Get permission from teachers for your child to email homework. It’s easy for kids doing homework on the computer. Some families scan homework on a scanner and email it to the teacher. This tip will not strengthen working memory, but it is a good coping strategy for students with weak executive functions.

Reward your child for remembering this. Email teachers once a week to make sure all homework has been handed in. Give your child five points for all completed homework, four points for a single missed assignment, and zero points for more than one missing. Create a menu of rewards that the child can earn. Award more points for more complex missions.

Give your child a homework routine to follow. Homework is a complex series of sub-tasks that must be completed in sequential order. It requires a lot of working memory. Teach your child that to complete an assignment he must:

  • Know what the mission is
  • Bring the necessary equipment home
  • Put homework back in your binder or backpack
  • Bring completed homework to school.

Morning routines to improve working memory

Have your child record the steps in their morning routine. Listening to his own voice while reading creates less tension than nagging him about what to do. If he forgets a step, he can just rewind the tape to figure out what he missed.

Rehearse with your child what you expect them to remember just before the situation. For example, if he needs to ask the teacher for a study guide or individual help, prepare him by asking, “So what do you need to say to your teacher when you go upstairs? desk ? “

Use digital reminders. With kids in middle school, use cell phones, text messages, or instant messages to remind them of things to do.

Minimize external distractions – turn off the television or turn down the volume if you want your child to pay full attention when you say something important.

Follow through. Kids with poor working memory will say they’ve done something – put homework in their backpack, say – when you ask, but they’ll forget. Until the child gets used to taking action when prompted, check them to make sure they’ve done what they told you.

[Get This Free Download: 10 Solutions for Disorganization at School]

Updated July 26, 2021

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