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Kids of this generation have a hard time concentrating on one thing. There are too many distractions in this age – there is television, the internet, and then there are endless toys, which makes it impossible for them to focus on one thing. If your kid is unable to focus on one thing, don’t assume that something is wrong with your kid, it may be possible that he is just forgetful. Your kid’s mind may not be fully developed as of now, and he might be still figuring out how to remember things. Although forgetfulness is common, it can affect a child’s academic performance and learning skills as well. This is why you need to help your child and strengthen his memory.
Reasons for Forgetfulness in Kids
There are a few reasons why your child may be forgetting things often. Let’s look at them below:
1. Under-developed Memories
When adults get to learn any new piece of information, they add it to what they already know in their memory banks instead of creating completely new bits of information. For example, if an adult learns about how much food a dog needs to survive, he can store this knowledge in his mind along with other things about dogs and food. As young children have less knowledge in their memory bank, sorting new information into categories is more difficult for them, which results in forgetfulness.
2. Being Inattentive
Children are known to have their attention wander from time to time. As they grow up, they also learn the ability to develop attention. If you see that your child is forgetful, maybe the root of the problem may be his attentiveness, and you can work to fix that. For example, when you talk to him, make sure he looks directly at you, similarly ask him to look in your eyes while speaking. Also, pause often and ask him to repeat what you said to ensure that he is engaged.
3. Not Enough Memory Tricks
As children grow, they learn certain tricks to remember new things. For example, a teenager will find that rhymes or colour coding or mnemonics is useful to remember something in his academics and will start using them. As a young child, he may not know these tricks and tools yet and so he may forget things.
4. Trauma or Brain Injury
Children who have had a traumatic brain injury may be more forgetful than other children. Brain injuries can be caused by any trauma or car accidents, but also can be caused by a serious fall or while playing some sport. If your child seems to suddenly become forgetful, take him to a doctor once to check for a concussion.
Tips to Help Your Forgetful Child Remember More
There are many helpful ways to cure forgetfulness in a child. If you see that your child forgets things learned soon or shows signs of ADHD, you can try a few of the below tips to improve his memory:
1. Take Him to a Quiet Place
Try and provide your child with a quiet place to study which is free of interruptions, noise, and distractions like toys or a TV. See to it that he only has the materials which he needs to study and nothing else.
2. Keep a Count
Give him a count of the things to be remembered. For example, if your child learns 10 new vocabulary words in a day, you can prompt his memory by saying ‘5 are verbs related to speed and other 5 are adjectives related to transport’.
3. Make Him Understand First
Instead of asking him to memorise, first, explain him. If he needs to understand the concept of evaporation, make him observe a glass of water over 2-3 days. If he needs to remember equations, have him draw them as pictures with blocks of buttons representing numbers.
A good tip to help an extremely forgetful child is to help him practice an activity so that he can remember it. For example, a mock exam the night before a real one, or a run-through of writing homework assignments in his notebook before the first day of class can help him a great deal. With enough practice, your child will be able to remember things without difficulty.
5. Provide Information
Provide a framework of relevance to your child, so that he can see how certain information is relevant to his life. For example, you can help him with math by showing how addition or subtraction can be used to decide how much candy he can buy with the money he has.
6. Try the Funny Approach
Teach your child how to remember things by associating it with something funny. For example, if ‘skittish’ is the word to be remembered, make him imagine he’s watching a play with the actors nervous on stage.
7. Make Rhymes
You can help your child create fun rhymes, limericks, or chants to remember the multiplication table or historical facts.
8. Engage Senses
Teach your child to engage his senses. For example, if he is learning to read, ask him to trace letters with his finger and to speak them out loud. If your child is learning geography, ask him to visually describe a map and point out important locations. Similarly, in a foreign language class, you can teach your child to visualise what they’re learning to say.
Review test material with your child as early as possible so that he can learn when he is doing wrong. By knowing where he is making mistakes, you can help him rectify those. This way he won’t repeat his mistakes. Explain him but don’t make him cram.
10. Use a Highlighter
Give your child a highlighter and teach him to highlight or underline important things he reads or words. Teach him to re-read what he has underlined later on so that he remembers that.
11. Use Phrases or Acronyms
You can help your child remember a list using acronyms and funny phrases. For example, ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles’ is a great phrase to remember the names of the planets. You can teach make him memorise the acronym ‘VIBGYOR’ to remember the wavelength of colours.
12. Use ‘Cheat Sheets’
Is your child forgetful and disorganised? A good way to help him remember things is to keep cheat sheets on hand for reference. If the teacher gives permission, you can create sheets of math formulas, grammar rules or historical facts that he can flip through when needed in class.
13. Create a Checklist
Keep reminders on hand to help your kid stay organised. You can do this by sticking a checklist in his room of what to pack in his school bag or the date when his science project is due. He can also carry the checklist around so that he remembers important things during the day. Teaching your child how to use and keep a daily planner or bullet journal is also useful.
14. Discover Memory Tricks
You can explore more into what your child already uses to remember things. For example, does he chant words under his breath or forms pictures in his mind while reading? You can use all that, explore and add to it further to develop his memory skills.
15. Let Him Know
Let your child know or give him a heads up on when you want him to remember something. Like you can start off with ‘I want you to keep this in mind’ or ‘Put on your thinking cap now’. This will give him a mental red light to memorise or remember whatever he is about to hear.
Be creative when you develop memory strategies to help your child remember something or memorise a fact. Children are prone to remember things once a fun activity has been added or an interesting association has been made. If you constantly practise the above tips and strategies, your child will soon be less forgetful and remember important things in his mind without you having to remind him. On the flip side, if you observe your child becoming increasingly forgetful over time, you may want to take him to the doctor to check if he has any learning disability or some disorder which is impeding his memory. The doctor will diagnose the issue and suggest a proper course of treatment for your child.