How to improve your child's memory

Improve your child's memory
Want to help your child remember dates, formulae, tricky vocabulary and more? Memory champion Chester Santos has a few tips to share to help boost their confidence (and amaze their parents and teachers!).

Memory is fundamental to learning, so improving your child's ability to remember things is going to give them a huge advantage for the rest of their life. When it's fun and easy for your child to commit information to memory, your child's confidence will get a boost.

Below are some tips that will help your child to become better at remembering just about anything. Try them out for yourself and then share the knowledge with your child!

Memory-improver 1: Make it fun

Most kids find it difficult to remember things for school not because they don't have the ability to do it, but because they find the information boring and uninteresting. When committing information to memory the key is to shift the approach. Rather than coming at the task as a difficult and tedious memory exercise, it should be approached more as a fun exercise in imagination.

Memory-improver 2: Visualise

Take whatever it is that you are trying to remember and try to turn it into a simple image or a series of interesting pictures. We are very good at remembering things that we see!

Memory-improver 3: Involve additional senses

As well as building a picture in your head, try to involve as many additional senses as you can while trying to commit a piece of information to memory. The more senses you involve, the more of your brain you'll be using and the more connections to the information you'll be building in your mind, so it will be much easier to remember.

Memory-improver 4: Flex your creativity

Next, use your creativity to make what you are seeing and experiencing in your mind crazy, unusual and extraordinary. This is important; a small imaginative effort will reap big rewards, as we all tend to remember things that are crazy, unusual, and extraordinary in some way!

Memory-improver 5: Build a story

Keep the first four tips in mind when you build a story that incorporates the information that you need to remember. 

Let me illustrate by having you commit to memory the following random list of words: monkey, iron, rope, kite, house, paper, shoe, worm, envelope, pencil. 

Instead of memorising the list with brute force repetition (saying it again and again until it sticks in your mind), relax and have fun while visualising the "story" that I describe.

Picture a (monkey). This monkey is dancing around making monkey noises. Now the monkey pics up an (iron). The iron starts to fall, but a (rope) attaches itself to the iron.  You look up the rope and see the other end attached to a (kite). The kite now smashes into a (house). You notice that the house is covered in (paper). A (shoe) appears out of nowhere and starts to walk on the paper. The shoe really smells, so you look inside to find a (worm) crawling around. The worm now jumps into an (envelope) that appears above it. A (pencil) starts to write on the envelope. 

Read through the story just one more time while visualising everything described; see it like a movie or cartoon playing in your head. Now, go ahead and recite all of the random words from memory by simply going through the story in your mind and recalling each major object that you encounter. This simple technique works amazingly well and will be a much more fun and interesting way for your child to go about committing things to memory!

These tips are only the beginning. I've spent a decade helping kids with proven techniques for remembering formulae, vocabulary/terminology, facts/figures, dates, names, presentations, and much more. I know that your child is capable of developing a superb memory with just a little bit of fun training and practice!

Chester Santos, "The International Man of Memory", is an award-winning international speaker, US memory champion, and author of Instant Memory Training for Success.