School can sometimes be too stressful for us. We are tested constantly, we have to memorise facts and some of us try to memorise study material one night before tests. At times, as teachers we feel overwhelmed too while dealing with kids that struggle to memorise things. We do not know how to best help the kids in our classroom. Tests after tests it feels like when is this cramming of facts going to stop.
As children we also forget where we leave our books, toys, and do not remember to copy homework instructions at schools.
Here are some of my favourite tips as an Occupational Therapist if you are struggling to remember things. You can use these tips on your students if you are a teacher or if you are parent.
- I am starting with tips for differently abled children who are functioning at a very low level. You may have children who don’t pay any attention to your instructions. Call out the Childs name and say things like ‘Listen’, ‘Use your ears’. Get eye contact of the child by going down to the child’s level. If the child is seated on a small seat, please don’t stand towering over the child. Instead kneel down next to the child. Keep the child’s table clutter free. Try not to talk in long sentences. Keep your instructions to two or three words. So instead of saying, “I want you to look at the board and copy the sentence”, you could say, “Look here” and point to the board, then say “Copy this” and use a visual cue to point to the sentence..
- Play memory games : Take a deck of playing cards and place them face up on a table. Allow the child to view the different cards for approximately five seconds. Now turn the cards face down. So, if your card was face up with an ace until now, turn it over so the child cannot see the ace symbol anymore. Start calling out instructions such as ‘Point to the card with the heart’, ‘Point to the card with ace’. Every now and then ask the child to find the card that was not among those shown to the child. Increase the cards to a maximum of 7 as the child progresses with remembering things.
Benefits of this task: The child’s attention span will increase, the child’s immediate memory will also increase and this is a fun and functional everyday task which you can use in a realistic setting.
Pick out the 20 per cent of the most important sections of your test material and repeat the facts on a sheet of paper by writing. When you write things, you use multiple parts of your brain. When many areas of the brain fire together you tend to remember things better.