Have you ever thought, “My child is literally the most forgetful in the whole world! I wonder if he gets that from me?”
Well, we’re going to chat a little bit about working memory.
What is Working Memory?
Working memory is an executive functioning skill that helps our children remember information, store it, and then bring it back when they need it. I’m going to talk about the two parts that make working memory helpful and how to improve your child’s working memory skills.
Want a solid game plan and step-by-step strategies and activities for improving your child’s working memory skills? Check out my Real Life Working Memory Strategies Workshop!
The Two Parts of Working Memory
The first part of working memory is we need to be able to experience something, learn it, and keep it in our memory.
The second part of working memory, and what makes it so complex, is that not only does working memory allow us to learn something new, keep it in our head, but it also allows us to integrate it with past experiences. And it also allows us to bring it out when we need it.
So as you can see, there’s a lot of things happening in the brain for working memory to be a part of everyday functioning for our children.
How Does Working Memory Work?
Working memory skills are critical for all areas of academics. Here’s an example in math. Let’s say a student is presented with a complicated word problem involving multiplication. They need to be able to use their working memory to recall their multiplication facts while solving the word problem.
If the student has trouble with their working memory, they may get so caught up in the word problem, they can’t recall their multiplication facts.
Here’s an example in adults. We might be multi-tasking where we start unloading the dishwasher, but then we let the pasta on the stove over boil because we forgot to check it. We couldn’t integrate what we were doing, keeping track of the new thing that we had to do.
You Can Improve Your Child’s Working Memory Skills
Working memory is a skill that needs to be developed. There are lots of things we can do and experiences we can provide our children to practice working memory and improve working memory skills.
All those childhood games like Memory, where you flip the little cards you flip back and forth, that actually starts developing their visual (think non-verbal) memory, which is the first part of working memory that develops.
Tip: If your child struggles with working memory, you want to start with strengthening their visual memory first.
Then the second part of working memory that develops is the auditory part. We want to take the vision and incorporate it with words, sounds, doing more than one thing at a time, and having your child remember it.
These are all ways you can improve your child’s working memory skills.
If you’re interested in really learning how you can help your child develop and practice their working memory skills, check out my Real Life Working Memory Strategies Workshop!
I give you a step-by-step plan and many activities you can use to help your child improve their working memory skills.