Admit it: sometimes you can’t help but feel like a broken record when talking to your child.
“Don’t touch that.”
“I just told you stop touching that.”
“I said STOP TOUCHING IT!”
It’s a frustrating dialogue, and one that’s bound to fray the ends of your patience. Is your toddler testing your resolve, deliberately disobeying you in order to get your attention? Perhaps, but that’s not the only explanation. While toddlers can certainly be impulsive and defiant, they’re also extremely forgetful. This is because their memory is only just beginning to develop. The simple task of remembering names, objects, places and rules can be extremely overwhelming for a young child. After all, toddlers are just starting to use and comprehend most words at this point in their lives. Developing the cognitive abilities necessary to fully understand this new vocabulary takes time and practice.
Thankfully, there are a few things that parents can do in order to help children recall rules whilst also building up the brain cells responsible for memory development. Take a trip down Memory Lane with these simple but effective practices.
Think about one of the most memorable moments in your own life. What is it about this event that makes it ‘sticky’ or easy to recall? It has to grab your attention in some way, shape or form. In other words, you remember it because it is memorable. Novelty and creativity can go a long way to helping your toddler remember important facts. This is because preschoolers naturally remember things that they find interesting. So put on a funny hat, make a video, or enlist the help of the family pet when telling your child something important.
Looking for fun ways to improve your child’s memory? Check out our Pinterest board for memory game suggestions, tools and helpful tips.
Don’t Just Repeat Yourself. Tell a Story.
Repetition, though it aids with the storage of important information, doesn’t actually enhance memory development. You’re better off to tell your child a story about the topic or concept in question. Preschoolers have a much easier time extracting general principles when something is explained in a narrative format. This is often why children enjoy hearing the same story over and over again. While they’re expose to the repetitive nature of the lesson, it’s the story that’s actually caught their attention.
What’s more, researchers have found that children who understand how to recount their own stories have a much easier time developing important memory skills. In fact, the simple act of talking about the past with a child can have a huge impact on their ability to remember things. Parents can aid in the development of their child’s storytelling skills by prompting them to elaborate on their experiences. Say, for example, that your four-year-old lost her favorite plastic dinosaur sometimes after lunch. Help her recount her steps beginning with when and where she and Mr. T-Rex were last playing. Asking leading questions, like whether or not Mr. T-Rex required a bathroom break during the play session, will help your toddler reconstruct their day, as well as aid in their memory development.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect,” but in the case if childhood memory development, practice is what makes memory permanent. The more often a memory is recalled, the stronger it becomes – much in the same way that regular exercise helps strengthen muscles. Put this into practice by integrating concepts that you want your child to remember into everyday routines. Have your child identify numbers from address signs while out for a walk. Let her use your cellphone to call her grandparents or some other phone number that you’re trying to teach her to remember.
Enhance your child’s memory and have some fun at the same time. Check out the memory games inside our Busytown Mysteries interactive app today.