How Can You Boost Your Child's Working Memory?

Mrs. Kenefic, Grades K-6 Learning Specialist

Children use working memory to learn and follow directions. Working-memory boosters can be built into their daily lives.

You can help your child improve this executive function by using these strategies:
  • Working on visualization skills- Encourage your child to create a picture in their mind of what they just read or heard. For example, if you have told them to set the table for five people, ask them to come up with a mental picture of what the table should look like or describe the image to you. 
  • Have your child teach you- Being able to explain how to do something involves making sense of information and mentally filing it. 
  • Suggest games that use visual memory- There are lots of matching games that can help your child work on visual memory. You can also do things like give your child a magazine page and ask them to circle all instances of the word "the" or the letter "a" in one minute. 
  • Play cards- Simple card games like Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish, and War can improve working memory in two ways. Your child has to keep the rules of the game in mind. But they also have to remember what cards they have and which ones other people have played. 
  • Encourage active reading- Jotting down notes and underlining or highlighting text can help kids keep the information in mind long enough to answer questions about it. Talking out loud and asking questions about the reading material can also help with this. 
  • Chunk information into small bites- When you give your child multi-step directions, write them down or give them one at a time. You can also use graphic organizers to help break writing assignments into smaller pieces. 
  • Make it multisensory- Write tasks down so your child can look at them, say them out loud so your child can hear them, or toss a ball back and forth while you discuss the tasks your child needs to complete.
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Woodlynde School is a private, co-ed college prep day school located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that serves intelligent, talented students with learning differences in grades K - 12. Woodlynde provides a comprehensive, evidence-based Kindergartenelementarymiddle and high school program in a challenging yet nurturing environment for students with average to above average cognitive abilities (IQ) who have language- or math-based learning differences (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia), Executive Function Challenges, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Auditory Processing Disorder. Even for those students without a diagnosed learning disability (LD), Woodlynde offers expert and caring teachers in small classroom settings that support academic success. Woodlynde School also offers a post-graduate (PG) program in partnership with Rosemont College as well as a regional Summer Camp for students who learn differently.