Keep your child's memory sharp this summer

When children are learning new things they are constantly using their working memory to hold and manage details and instructions provisionally until they are transferred into their long-term memory. The working memory is the area of our short-term memory responsible for holding and processing information.

With the extended break from school over the summer months, children can easily fall victim to the "summer slide" and lose some of the sharpness of their working memory, making learning in the new school term more challenging.

Here are some activities to help get your child's working memory back to its best ready to get the academic year off to a flying start.

Ask your child to teach you something

Having your child teach you something helps them practice their verbal communication as well as encouraging them to recall the relevant information, mentally formulate what exactly they need to share with you, and then to clearly and methodically express it.

Having them repeat a process back to you will only further cement it in their own mind.

Try something out of their comfort zone

By sticking to well-worn paths, your child's brain is not getting the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. It doesn't matter how intellectually demanding an activity is, if they're already good at it they will not be exercising their brain to the full.

Ask your child if there is something new they have always wanted to try, like learning to tap dance, bake a cake, play chess, etc. Any of these activities can help improve their memory, as long as they remain challenging and engaging.

Play card and picture games

Playing games is both educational and fun. As well as remembering the rules of the game, your child will have to think logically about how they can go about winning by considering the hand/runs they need to win and ways to rumble their nearest competition.

Matching picture games in particular are a good way to boost their visual memory which children need in order to complete quick multi-step calculations in their heads.

Encourage reading

Reading is one of the best activities to keep your child's mind ticking-over. Due to the very nature of fiction they will constantly be having to think back to earlier details of the plot, perhaps where a character was first introduced or back to a minor plot clue which only now appears important having read on.

When your child is truly engrossed in a book they will be focusing on the present, bearing in mind the past and predicting the future; three tasks to keep their memory very much alive. (The Kumon Recommended Reading List has over 380 books of all genres and reading abilities to help you find the perfect read for your child.)

Kumon students across the country have kept their minds engaged and developing throughout the summer by completing their Kumon worksheets. Having continued their study, even just for 30-minutes a day, means our students will quickly be able to adjust back to the school routine and be working to their full potential from the beginning.

It's not too late to help your child fight the summer slide; anything you can do together now to boost your child's mental agility and working memory will go a long way to helping them perform better in the first few months of their new school year.
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