Memories are defined as a past incident that is retained in the mind, and can be recalled, voluntarily or involuntarily. Memories can bring us great happiness or great sadness. However, according to research, we retain more when we are happier. By utilizing emotional intelligence, unhappy memories can be turned into winning outcomes with the right attitude. We should address the lulls in order to enhance our memory retention capacity.
How are memories stored in our brain?
The information processing approach explains human mental processing through the analogy of a computer. The working memory located in the prefrontal cortex is responsible for processing short term memories, interpreting, representing, and applying all sensory information from the environment around us, the inputs. It works much like the Random Access Memory (RAM) of the brain.
According to this article, we are capable of infinite memory, but, “short-term memories are lost due to interference with new incoming information, they are essential for planning behaviors and deciding what actions to perform based on the current situation”. “The hippocampus, responsible for long-term memories, doesn’t store memories permanently either. Although, the hippocampus is stimulated through rote learning and is a ‘key structure in the brain’ for ‘spatial memory in humans’. It is only the information stored in the cerebral cortex that gets permanently stored.”
The causes of poor memory retention
Poor memory retention is predominantly caused by poor concentration, unless, your child has a learning disability that can be easily treated with the right guidance. We have written an article ’13 tips on how to improve concentration in children’, where we have discussed this topic in-depth; giving you the tools to enable your child to excel in any activity.
We all have unique talents and gifts. Likewise, each of us process information in our own unique manner. The same applies to learning and our strongest methods of learning are to be identified before we attempt to make our memories stronger, because that’s how the information will find its way from the short term memory to the long-term memory and finally to the permanent memory. For example, repeating the same nursery rhymes over and over again to young children offers memorization by repetition. Through familiar rhymes, children learn rhythmic patterns, teaching them balance and symmetry. Mnemonics are a useful tool even for high schoolers and college students.
However, repetitive learning can cause your children to lose interest. We have seven of the best ways to boost your child’s memory retention capacity and they are as follows:
1. A memory palace
Engage your child in conversation by talking about their favorite route to school, the park or their favorite move on the jungle gym and use the sequence in which they do things to help them learn. Since, it’s a skill your child will get better with practice. Like any other skill, it requires hard work to form and remember a story, relevant to the subject/topic in relation to the route.
2. Recording notes or teaching yourself
As the brain is already familiar with the tone of your own voice, it is easier to remember notes recorded by yourself. In addition, recording notes is much faster than writing them down, saving the student time to do another revision. It helps students focus better and ultimately increases their capacity to learn and absorb knowledge quickly.
3. Discipline and develop good habits
The earlier children start to memorize, the higher capacity they develop to retain as high school and college students. However, discipline to do it regularly is a key factor and there is no substitute for hard work. It makes children more organized and helps them plan their time better to do a whole range of activities.
Of course, positive reinforcement is vital. Positive reinforcement is rewarding in kind or by using encouraging words when the desired behavior is exhibited. The reward systems in the brain are fired when subjected to such behavior and learning is stored in the long term memory. Most schools punish which is not the correct methodology to adopt at the first instance as feelings of shame or embarrassment hinder the child’s progress.
According to this article, “Programmers do think differently than other people, but coding involves attention, language, memory, math, logic, and creativity.” WhiteHat Jr understands the need of how vital coding is for the development of the brain, in the child’s prime years, and so conducts classes for children with only the very best resources and teachers.
Music enhances focus and enables us to retain more full-bodied memories. There are multiple ways of using music to help your child learn something new – calm instrumental music in the background will help them focus, mnemonics and rhymes will help them retain and recall, and most importantly, learning an instrument or music form will help them hone their concentration, retention, and confidence.”
According to the New York Times, “Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness” Mindfulness can be defined as accepting and bringing your attention to the present moment. So, how does it really benefit them? They can feel “relief from whatever difficulties they might be encountering in life,” according to Annaka Harris, a mindfulness author and guide. In order for your children to embrace the mindful life, they have to see you practice and embrace it too, so both are on the same page and you can help each other overcome come what may.
Meditation, like mindfulness, also brings focus and awareness of our environment to the table. Instead of thinking about the present moment, with meditation, we only think about clearing the mind of unnecessary thoughts and feelings. Have you tried Spiderman meditation with your children yet? If not, it is highly engaging and hence highly recommended to teach children to focus and also to take stock of their emotions.
Benefits of strong memory retention
“Bestselling author Eran Katz, who also holds a Guinness World Record for his memory stunts, lists the five benefits of good memory skills:
– Higher grades.
Memorizing also helps maintain neuroplasticity (the brain being more receptive to retaining more information). According to this site, the more knowledge you gain, the more connections you are able to make, and hence, the more knowledge you are able to retain. However, the difference between ‘understanding’ (connections between concepts that you already have familiarity with) and ‘recalling’ is fundamental.
– Reduced anxiety and frustration as learning is made easier.
Since learning is no longer a passive activity of sitting and staring at a book blankly for hours, it provides time for the relaxation of the child’s mind as well. It makes learning an interactive activity as the child’s curiosity is aroused and let’s the child engage with the material, giving him/her the ability to ask more questions.
– Reduced hours of rote learning
Brain power like any other energy source should be economized. Having knowledge of equations, functions, definitions, and other memorized facts can save brain power. These foundational concepts can speed up understanding of higher and more complex concepts.
– Improved sleep quality
This article from Harvard Medical School shows evidence that higher brain activity tires the brain. This leads to the necessity of quality sleep as it aids in processes of ‘consolidation’ (the bringing together of the facts learned) in the memory.
Humor has also been shown to improve memory, so learning a few jokes could be a win-win”. Afterall, the devil is in the details and having a good memory can help you identify and remove the bugs in coding as well as remember when your friends have said they desired something particular for their birthday.
In addition, according to this article by Psychology Today, “To be an expert in any field requires knowledge that’s already stored. At WhiteHat Jr, students understand in great depth the functional aspect and the implementation of coding, stimulating not only their intelligence but also their creativity. So, keep both yours and their mind sharp and active with robust memories and reap the benefits now that you have the seven actionable steps in your working memory.