"How to Improve Short Term Memory in a Child" [5 Secret Ways to Stop the Shoulder Shrug]


You just finished telling your child a series of tasks, things, chores that need to be done before he can go outside.


Thirty minutes go by and you check in with them to see if these things have been done, but all you get is a blank look and the ‘shoulder shrug’ as if to say, “I haven’t a clue what you are talking about”. You calmly remind them of the tasks and then the “I forgot” statement happens.


At first you may be disappointed, or even slightly miffed. You realize that this isn’t the first time your child has forgotten to do something. Does this happen in your home? You know your child isn’t trying to be disobedient.


So you go to your iphone and google symptoms of forgetfulness. There it is...short-term memory.


You may be seeing this in other areas of your child’s life...school, activities, play.


Hi, I’m Jean Harville from Private Dyslexia Tutor. So why is strengthening short-term memory important to the dyslexic child? It is the foundation in learning and retaining the memory of a word, the order of the letters/sounds, it’s meaning and be able to read with fluency.


Here are 5 Secret Ways to get rid of the ‘shoulder shrug’ and the “I forgot” statements. In other words, improve your child’s short term memory. This is a vital skill your child needs to be successful in school since a lot of teaching is done orally.


But wait, before we go any further, it’s important to know when the last time your child’s hearing was checked. If your child’s hearing is normal, let’s dive into these 5 secret ways.


Secret Way:

#1. Tell your child a short 2-3 word message for him to go tell another family member. Play this game often throughout the day. Lengthen the messages as your child demonstrate a success.


#2. Ask your child to retell the sequence of animals they saw after a fun day at the zoo. Here we are incorporating visual memory. Which leads us to the next secret way to increase short term memory.


#3. Use multiple modalities such as auditory, visual, tactile, or a combination of all three, when presenting directions, explanations, or teaching new material. Pairing modalities is very useful. You can draw simple figures to show what the information is, or have your child visualize (make a picture in his head) or tap his fingers in the order the tasks are being given.


#4. Record a message on your child’s iphone or recorder. Have your child listen and write the message, using the tactile kinesthetic modality.


For me, I take tons of notes when learning new material, but you know what? I rarely go back to my notes later. I can remember the material, the lecture or whatever because I used multiple modalities to get the information into memory.


#5. Teach your child how to organize information into smaller units. For example: Break the number sequence 132563 into units of 13, 25, 63. I personally love and use this method. It works for me!


Think about how you hold on to information. What tricks do you use?

We as adults have developed our own tactics to bolster our own short term memory issues.


Have fun with your child in strengthening their short term memory...Remember it’s a very important skill they will need throughout school...even life.


If you found this article helpful, LIKE my blog. Share it to someone who will find it useful.


Here’s a question for you. Write your answer below in the comments. What tip or strategy do you use when remembering a long series of numbers?


See you on the next article, “How to Help a Child With Reading Comprehension Problems”.


Jean Harville

Private Dyslexia Tutor

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