How You Can Help Improve Your Child’s Memory

October 17, 2016 Studying Tips25

When it comes time to study, memory is everything. There are many different ways to help improve your child’s memory in order to make learning easier and more effective for them. Many of these methods will not just assist in increasing brain power, but can also help them lead overall healthier lives, which is all any parent wants.

Mental Exercise

When it comes to your brain function, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you don’t challenge your brain with new information, eventually the knowledge you have will deteriorate. Providing your brain with the appropriate stimulus can increase brain plasticity and fight off degradation.

One way to challenge your brain is through brain games that appear on both web and mobile apps, allowing technology to help stimulate your cognitive abilities. If you want to introduce your child to online brain games, make sure they invest at least 20 minutes to them a day, but limit them to about five minutes per task. After that, benefits of these activities start to diminish, and by then you’re just putting strain on the brain.  

Other activities that can be beneficial include starting a new hobby, learning a new instrument,or playing a game like chess, which makes you think. Remember, it has to be something new that represents a challenge to your brain. Building a new skill, or adding to your bank of knowledge can help increase brain activity and stave off degradation.

Mnemonic Devices

Our short-term memory is notoriously ineffective. We can try all we want, but something will be forgotten in the short term. Sometimes we need a little help organizing information into easily digestible segments in order to make them easier to remember. To do this, we often rely on mnemonic devices, little tricks that can help us remember information and concepts.

There are many different ways to make information easier to remember at the appropriate time. Incorporating these methods into studying requires you to memorize less and triggers recollection much faster and easier. It can be useful to break information down into chunks, so you don’t have to remember so much at once. Visualizing an image in association with a word or creating a rhyme can help make recollection easier. Creating an acronym of a task you must perform can make it easier to remember.

Stop Multitasking

Everyone is a multitasker these days. We’re on our smartphones and watching TV, we’re using the computer while talking on the phone, but it’s not the most effective way of doing things, and it’s terrible for your memory. Thought to help you get as many things done as quickly as possible, multitasking makes you prone to errors and can leave you forgetting everything you have been trying to learn.

Instead of allowing your child to do too much at once, have them do everything in its own time. That means no television during homework time, and no distractions while studying. Research shows that the human brain needs about eight seconds with a piece of information before it is committed to memory. If they are trying to do too much at once, they won’t show enough attention to what they are trying to learn, and they will forget most of it.

Physical Exercise

In order to keep your brain working, it can help to stimulate your body right along with your mind. Physical exercise stimulates nerve cells to multiply, strengthen your interconnections, and protect from damage, allowing your brain to work at optimum capacity. During physical activity, the brain releases proteins that can promote neural health, assists cognitive functions, and increases the potential to learn.

Becoming inactive is not just bad for their physical health, it can also stunt their mental growth. In a year-long study, those who engaged in exercise were actually shown to have grown and expanded the brain’s memory center by 1-2% per year, where typically that center would have declined in size with inaction. Encourage your child to perform regular physical activity, including sports and simple outdoor play time.

Eat the Right Foods

Eating the right foods can help promote healthy brain activity and play a crucial role in memory. The key to eating right is taking in enough antioxidants, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, while also avoiding excess sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Antioxidants are an important part of any healthy diet, but these compounds help protect brain health and can stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good superfood sources, and foods like curry, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and walnuts are some of best brain-boosting foods you can have.

Green tea contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Regular consumption of green tea can help stimulate memory and mental alertness. Resveratrol is a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain to improve brain health. It is primarily found in red wine, but children can enjoy it in grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.

Getting enough omega-3s is also important to brain health. Cold water fish, like salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring are excellent sources of omega-3. If your kids don’t eat fish, seaweed, walnut, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli pumpkin seeds, and soybeans are also great to have. Cooking with coconut oil is also an excellent way to add healthy fat to your diet.

On the other side of things, it’s a good idea to limit calories and saturated fats. Avoid excess red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream. They can impair concentration and limit memory.

Get Enough Sleep

Believe it or not, the amount of sleep you get can have a direct effect on your memory. According to a Harvard study, people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related ideas after sleeping. Meaning the more sleep you get, the more your brain can function in creating new memories. A lack of sleep can get in the way of your brain cells creating new memories and learning new information. Sleep allows your brain to recharge and strengthen the synaptic connections of the brain.

How much sleep your child needs depends directly on their age, as the younger they are, the more sleep they require to function. School-age kids may require anywhere between 7-13 hours of sleep each night. Skimping on even a few hours can compromise memory, creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. In the end, though, it would appear that sleep actually helps in consolidating memory and allowing new information to set in the brain. In other words, if your child spends several hours studying for a test, they need the proper amount of sleep to allow that information to permeate into their memory. Don’t think that more studying with less sleep will help them cram for a test.
The best way to promote healthy sleeping practices is to ensure that they stay on their regular sleep schedule. This means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time each morning. Prevent them from using screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime, cut back on their sugar intake, and avoid caffeine whenever possible. A good sleep routine is crucial to good mental health.

Click here for accompanying infographic How You Can Help Improve Your Child’s Memory 

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