A better way to help your child retain new information
Kidaptive Tips and Tidbits:
What do meeting important deadlines, following a conversation, and performing mental arithmetic all have in common? They all require working memory, a function that allows us to store small amounts of information at a time to help us complete a cognitive task. Research shows that children’s working memory capacities are smaller than those of adults. However, we can actually adjust the way we provide information to our kids to fit the limits of their working memories!
The next time you’re teaching your child something new, structure your sentences in a way that presents familiar concepts first and new information last. For example:
- If your child is curious about where rain comes from, you can say, “It rains when the clouds have too much water in them,” rather than “When there’s too much water in the clouds, it rains.”
- If your child wants to know what night is, you can say, “Night happens when the sun is shining on the other side of the Earth,” rather than “Night happens when the other side of the Earth is facing the sun.”
Introducing the familiar contexts (clouds and sun) first gives your child the opportunity to access their background knowledge, while presenting the new concepts (clouds holding water and the sun shining on the other side of the Earth) last requires your child to remember those concepts for a shorter period of time before making sense of the whole sentence.
Children love learning new things, so let’s encourage their development by presenting information in a way that makes them most likely to remember it!
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