For many parents, absent-mindedness is a struggle that may seem like a lost cause. Young children are notorious for their selective hearing and forgetfulness. Surprisingly, children who display absent-mindedness are often gifted or able to retain a lot of information at once. They are learning by leaps and bounds, and they may be ignore the simple and mundane tasks that look like extreme forgetfulness. However, as a parent, there are things you can do to help your child overcome the negative effects of absentmindedness.
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Make it Personal
Children will better retain information that is important to them. What is important to a parent, may not be important to a child. The task your child is forgetting, like taking out the trash or tying their shoes, is not personally important to him. Therefore, he does not store the task in his memory bank and simply forget about it. Making these impersonal tasks more personal is key to memory enhancement. Devise a way for your child to increase the importance level of each task. This can be a great exercise in personal accountability. Sit down with him and explain why the task should be important to him. From rewards systems for remembering to pointing out the negative effects of not performing the task, your child can gain a better understanding of why the task should be important to him.
Link New Information to Old Information
If your child can link new information to old information already stored in his brain, he is more likely to remember it. You can find patterns in new information via charting or listing similarities in an item or task to another task your child regularly performs. For example, if your child has a hard time remembering to tie his shoes before leaving the house but always remembers to grab his lunch pail, link the two together. Tell your child to always tie his shoes after he picks up his lunch pail. He can mentally link the two tasks and form a new memory bond.
Take a Break
Sometimes a child simply needs to let her brain take a rest. Neurotransmitters needed for memory construction and attention are depleted after as little as 10 minutes performing the same activity. This means that your child's brain may simply be out of memory-transmitting power. If you are trying to teach your child new material and her mind keeps wondering, let her take a rest. Allow her to run around the house for a moment, sign a song, or do a quick little dance. This can give the brain a chance to recharge.
Engage the Senses
The brain stores memories in a variety of ways. The brain stores information in the region of the brain that is specific for each of the five senses. This means that memories related to smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste are all stored separately. The more senses you can engage in a learning activity, the more easily your child will be able to recall the information and remain actively engaged. The more times your child recalls the information, the more readily the information will be available. Therefore, it is key to engage the senses and remind your child of the relation the word or subject has to those senses.