Definitions, Easy Action Items, Executive Functions Training, School Advice, The Happy Student Podcast

#100 : Work that Memory

Working memory is basically your short-term memory. If you struggle with working memory, you just don’t have the space in your short-term memory to remember what you just read. It can be hard for note taking because maybe you want to respond to your teacher’s question, but the person next to you is making a good point – how do you write down what they are saying while remembering what you want to say? It’s super hard and frustrating! So we’ve got some tips to help you improve your kids’ working memory!

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

Working memory is basically your short-term memory. It’s all the information you are storing and using now.

If you disagree with the following statements, it means that working memory is not one of your strengths:

  • I have a good memory for facts, dates, and details.
  • I am very good at remembering the things I have committed to do.
  • I seldom need reminders to complete tasks.

Here are some other things to look out for if you are worried your kid might have weak working memory skills (these are provided by Attitude Magazine):

  • You want to join in a conversation, but, by the time the other person stops talking, you forget what you wanted to say.
  • You consistently lose your keys, cell phone, wallet, or homework.
  • You get lost easily, even when you were just given directions.
  • You have trouble following a conversation because you forget what the other person has just said.
  • You have many unfinished projects because you become distracted and forget about the first project.
  • You plan to do some work at home, but you forget to bring needed items with you.
  • You have to reread a paragraph several times to retain the information.
  • You miss deadlines at work because of your disorganization and inability to follow through on projects.

Tips on improving working memory:

Write it all down

Write down everything. If your kid really wants to use an app for things like a planner, that’s fine, but there is something about actually writing it down on paper that can help improve memory as well.

Break down overwhelming projects into simple, targeted tasks

Write down all of the things you have to do to study – like redo all the old tests and quizzes, redo the old homework problems, and so on. Then do one task at a time.

Reduce multitasking

Multitasking is really taxing on your brain’s resources. It’s much easier for your brain to do one thing and then move on to the next.

Develop routines

Routines make it so you don’t have to think about what you are doing – you just do it automatically. That reduces the amount of resources your brain has to use, freeing it up to spend those resources on other things.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation help to reduce distractions and improve focus, both of which are very important to improving your working memory.

Play games

Games like Memory, the card game, Uno, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and Sudoku help you to stretch and grow those working memory muscles. You can also check out CogMed, Play Attention, and Lumosity for some working memory games.

Work on visualization

Have your kid draw pictures of what they just heard.

Have your child teach you the skill that they are working on

This gets them engaging with the information in a more active way than passively listening to the teacher and trying to remember it later.

One big overarching theme is reduce distractions.

Another theme is to help your kid interact with the information by visualizing it or teaching it to you or making it interesting or unique in another way that we didn’t talk about like turning it into a song or something like that.

References & Resources:

Attitude Mag

CogMed

Lumosity

Play Attention

Understood.org

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

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The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student Podcast #90: Taking it Slow

Fireborn’s on a mission to help people slow down! The research shows being busy isn’t actually good for your brain and it’s not good for productivity. The research also shows that self-compassion, and not stress and negative thinking, is good for overcoming challenges and perseverance. What’s good is taking your time and teaching our kids to take their time. It encourages curiosity. It gives our brains time to be thoughtful and consider different possibilities. So it helps kids to start thinking analytically. And it teaches them to be present in the moment – to be aware of their surroundings and appreciate what is going on. Really good things! Fireborn’s got 5 tips to help you help your kids slow down.

CHECK OUT THE EPISODE BELOW: 

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

  • The research shows being busy isn’t actually good for your brain and it’s not good for productivity. The research also shows that self-compassion, and not stress and negative thinking, is good for overcoming challenges and perseverance.
  • So what does taking it slow mean? It means giving you and your family time to get from place to place and time to accomplish stuff without rushing.
    • Taking it slow means giving your child the opportunity to stop to pick up a stick from the sidewalk and think about it.
  • Giving your child the opportunity to consider those thoughts is a huge gift.
    • It encourages curiosity.
    • It gives their brains time to be thoughtful and consider different possibilities. So it helps them to start thinking analytically.
    • And it teaches them to be present in the moment – to be aware of their surroundings and appreciate what is going on.
  • If your kids are constantly rushing around, they miss that time for reflection, development, appreciation, and growth.

5 tips to help you help your kids slow down:

  1. Meditate together.
    1. Calm (a meditation app)
    2. Sitting Still like a Frog (a meditation book)
  2. Reduce the number of afterschool activities so that kids have time afterschool for unstructured, screen-free free time.
    1. Kids develop amazing skills when they play – curiosity, resourcefulness, and communication skills to just name a few.
    2. When kids are bored, they learn to think about how to stop being bored. It builds creativity and problem solving skills.
    3. It’s okay to do stuff after school. Balance here is just super important.
  3. Reducing the number of activities you’re racing to also gives you the opportunity to slow down the transitions and give yourself more time in between transitions.
    1. This provides kids with the opportunity to think more deeply about the world around them.
  4. Reduce the number of things you do.
    1. Your kids follow your lead. So if you are rushing around, prioritizing everything and stressing about doing everything, your kids will too. If you can be compassionate with yourself, really prioritize the things that are important and focus on just those, you’ll be showing your kids how to do it. Keep your time sacred.
    2. You are never going to “finish your work”. So yes, do some work, but also make sure you have time to do what makes you happy – those priorities. Find the time to slow down.
  5. Remind yourself that there will always be more stuff to do on your to do list, so if you don’t do what’s truly important now, you’ll be spending all your time working never getting to the good stuff. Taking things slow lets us get to the good stuff.
  • When you aren’t rushing from one activity to the next and being present in the moment, you learn to focus on what you are doing right then instead of constantly thinking about what you are doing next and preparing for that.
    • That helps kids learn to take their time doing their homework, instead of rushing through it and helps them to focus on one subject at a time. Giving kids time gives them the opportunity to do their homework well.
  • We always need a good balance.
    • It’s good to take things slow and live in the moment, but it simply isn’t practical to constantly live that way.
    • So while you are trying to slow things down, there will be challenges that make it hard – you and your kids need to take it slow, while also understanding that there is a time frame for things.
    • It’s worth trying to figure that balancing act out instead of just continuing to rush around. 
      • Talk to your kids about how it’s okay to take their time transitioning from school to homework, but in the mornings everyone’s a little slow and we have to get to school on time, so in the mornings they need to be more focused on getting out the door ready for school. 
    • Us adults also have to realize those cues for ourselves and take those times to be slow – to give ourselves the time to be slow. We have to figure it out so our kids can learn when to be fast and when they can be slow.
  • To not be thinking constantly about what to do next but instead be in the moment allows kids to focus on the task at hand. So it may feel like they are getting distracted, but it actually helps them learn to focus on one thing.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!