Kickstart Your Children’s Memory with These Simple Tips
How do you train your child's brain...
12 November 2017
Mums know that school can quickly go from simple to challenging, especially when kids enter secondary school. It can be difficult to see children worry about exams and completing essays and projects, or -in the case of older kids and teens- giving up their favourite hobbies or sports to complete their schoolwork. While it is important to accept our kids just as they are, teaching them to set goals and to love learning!, is important from the outset. We can give their confidence a big boost by helping them hone their working memory. Learning and retaining new facts is often a matter of using the right techniques and working on strengthening the brain as a whole, through simple and fun exercises and games.
Training the Brain for a Better Memory
Helping kids memorise facts through study techniques such as using graphs and other visual aids, audio material and the like is definitely helpful, but what about actually training working memory through specific exercises which has nothing to do with the subjects they are studying?
A new study by researchers at John Hopkins University has found that the best way to improve memory, is by playing a brain game! The researchers found that of existing games, the most effective is one called ‘Dual-n-back’, which requires players to remember the location of objects flashing on a screen. Dual n-back is a mix of famous 1980s game, Simon, and the classic card game, Old Maid. Kids and adults alike can play and there are a host of free online resources for practice. The game basically involves seeing squares flash then disappear on a grid, hearing a specific word as that square flashes. If you see a new square flash in the same place as an old one, or you hear a sound you have encountered before in the game, you must press the square and accrue points.
The game might be a little tough for younger kids in its original version, but the good news is that there are versions for kids, too. The key is to slowly increase the amount of time they ‘train’ and to allow children to learn at their own pace. Interestingly, the game is similar to many apps they probably already enjoy playing, so they needn’t even know they are specifically working on their memory. Just focus on the fun aspect and join in - who doesn’t need a bit of a memory boost now and then?
Brain Developing Games for Younger Kids
If you prefer to leave the Dual-n-back game for later, there are loads of games that will give your kids a brain workout. In one popular game, for instance, kids are told to look at a grid of dots, which slowly disappears. When the grid comes back, kids must test their memory by identifying the differences! Another game shows kids the portraits of eight British kings and queens; suddenly the images disappear - how many names can they recall? This type of game is an excellent way to pique your child’s interest in brain games. When they are whizzes at it, try a simple version of Dual-n-back and see how they fare!