Why is our memory so important?
Retaining information in our long-term memory bank is one of the greatest joys we can have in life. There are many different types of information worth keeping, but if we’re going to make the best use of that memory (and the information it holds), it has to be properly exercised. While there are numerous ways for you to improve memory, we’ve found that if we start developing those muscles when our children are young that our brains will operate much more efficiently.
With that in mind, today we’re sharing 6 secrets to improving memory for your kids.
1. Meditate to improve your working memory
Being mindful of our day to day actions is a part of retaining our daily memories — those that last a lifetime and those that may fall by the wayside, only to be brought back again by a familiar scent, scene, or action. While the big moments are usually retained with very little effort on our part, it’s the small moments that get lost in the details of the day. In order to retain those small moments, it’s important that you cash into your “working memory”, or the part of your memory that is actively working on a daily basis when you’re using your cognitive abilities. In other words, it’s the part of your memory that you don’t pay much attention to. Meditation can be a crucial practice to implement into our every day lives in order to improve our working memory. Whether we choose to pause and reflect at the end of the day, or wake each morning to dig deep within ourselves, we hold the tools through meditation that can also be passed along to our children. As parents, we know that children very rarely stop moving, acting, playing, or learning, let alone pause and reflect on the moment. Teaching your children the power of meditation or a simple pause and reflect throughout the day or even before bed can help to build lifelong tools that your child can rely on to keep their memory working as they age. For young children, asking questions that require your child to draw upon their experiences from that day can be a good start to teaching the meditation.
2. Exercise to improve your memory recall
Our brain is a muscle, and as you know, muscles need exercise if you want to get them in better shape. Working on your brain everyday — with activities like reading and problem solving — is essential to keeping it in tip top shape. It’s like going to the gym, but with less of the hassle! The same goes for children – continuous education is the key to powerful cognitive function and sets the baseline for a lifetime love of learning. The younger they start, the easier it will be.
3. Eat well for a better long-term memory
Did you know that berries can help prevent or halt memory loss? Quality food and key nutrients aren’t only great for your child’s overall physical growth and health, but they also have a powerful effect on their mind. Various kinds of berries have been linked to studies that show they can help stop memory loss, or in other words, boost your long-term memory. Diet, along with mental exercise, is one of the many things you can actively change and adjust to improve your cognitive abilities.
Tips to eating for a better long-term memory:
- Schedule your meals Have a proper meal schedule. Eating 3 meals a day, or 6 small meals a day, boosts power to the brain, keeping you energized and thinking clearly.
- Nap Bring back nap time! An hour-long nap is recommended if you (or your child) are trying to improve your memory, or hold on to skills and information just learned.
- Rosemary and Sage Including these two magical plants in your family’s diet cannot only improve memory but also protect from Alzheimers disease by having similar active compounds of common Alzheimer’s drugs produced today.
- Omega 3 fatty acids Omega 3 fatty acids, such as Fish Oil, has a beneficial effect on your memory. Supplements, including some unique and revolutionary found at Peak Nootropics, can also help boost your memory. While you should absolutely discuss supplements for you and your child with a doctor, you can be sure to incorporate Omega 3 fatty acids by including various sources in family meals: fish, grains and nuts, eggs, dairy, and some fruit juices. For a quick boost, sprinkle flax seeds in a smoothie or yogurt.
4. Suggest games that use visual memory
Paying special attention to your child’s visual memory is another way to improve their overall memory. Most likely, you’re already working on your child’s visual memory without even knowing it. Playing matching games or activities that require your child to memorize a picture, letter, or number are all part of training your child’s visual memory. Even requiring your child to memorize the spelling of their name and other familiar words is included in activities that improve your child’s visual memory. Some other fun games you can play are “I Spy”, creating and repeating patterns with various objects, or a guessing game: place three similar objects on the table, and have your child close their eyes while you take one object away and replace it with another, different object. Then, ask your child what object is different, why, and what did the previous object look like.
5. Work on visualization skills
If you can visualize something that you have read, you will be able to remember a greater amount of information in a small amount of time. The same goes for your child, even if they can’t read on their own yet. Ask your child questions while you’re reading together that requires them to expand upon the storyline or the characters. Create visual activities such as coloring a story board or drawing a picture of their favorite scene from a book that can be done after they have finished reading.
6. Sleep more to consolidate your memories
As you already presumed, sleep is an essential part of maintaining proper brain function, to include your memory. While our memories are made during waking hours, our brain processes, reorganizes and stores these memories while you’re sleeping. Making sure that your child gets a full night’s sleep each night is crucial to maintaining healthy brain power and processing and storing what has been learned the previous day. Sticking to a bedtime routine also suggests to your child the importance of sleep and can make going to bed easier, providing your child with the skills necessary to implement healthy sleep habits.
While there are many other ways to increase your child’s memory throughout their most crucial years of growth, these tips will build a foundation from which they can build on. And even if your child’s memory isn’t much of a concern at the moment, it’s a great opportunity to have one on one interaction and fun with your child while encouraging educational activities.
Photo credits: Stephanie