Your child is studying for tests and exams and the atmosphere in the house becomes more and more tense. The anxiety to have to memorize facts and texts can get so high, that you the parent just want to hide with the pillow over your head.
At the same time, as parents, we always want to find the best ways to support our child's education and to help ease their anxiety. One of the key skills in learning is memorization.
A skill very often not learned in schools, even though it should be and one of these skills children are supposed to pick up automatically.
Memorization can be much easier and even enjoyable by using creative strategies known as mnemonic devices. These tools are not just effective but can also make studying a more fun and imaginative activity. Let's get into some popular mnemonic devices and tips on how you can help your child memorize with ease.
1. Acronyms and Acrostics: Easy as A-B-C!
Acronyms are formed by taking the first letters of a series of words and creating a new word. Your child will be familiar with a number of them for sure. LOL means laugh out loud, FOMO Fear of missing out, BRB Be right back and we can go on for a while. Have them make a a funny word of the list of words or data they need to remember. For instance, BEMF was our last shopping list: Bread, Eggs, Milk and Flour.
Acrostics are sentences where the first letter of each word stands for another word. A classic example is "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" to remember the math order of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction). Encourage your child to create their own acrostics for a personal touch! The funnier and weirder the more effective!
2. Chunking: Breaking Down Information
Chunking is the process of taking long strings of information, like phone numbers or sequences, and breaking them into smaller, manageable units. This method reduces cognitive overload and makes long strings of information easier to recall.
3. Imagery: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Encourage your child to create vivid, imaginative pictures in their mind related to the information they need to remember. This is a good time to go wild with imagination.
The more bizarre or unusual the image, the more likely it is to stick!
4. Memory Palace (Method of Loci): A Journey Through Memory
The Memory Palace technique involves associating items you want to remember with specific locations in a familiar place, like your home. For instance, every morning your child is in the kitchen, an easy place to visit mentally. As your child moves through this mental space, they "collect" the items of information. This method is ancient and highly effective, especially for sequential information.
5. Rhymes and Alliteration: The Rhythm of Learning
Rhymes and alliterations are fun and effective for memory. Encourage your child to create little poems or use phrases where the beginning sounds are the same to remember lists or concepts. When growing up that is how we remembered the capitals of countries in Europe: Belgium has Brussels, where France has Paris. Spain has Madrid where Germany has Berlin, Ireland has Dublin, where Italy has Rome.
6. Storytelling: Weaving Facts into Tales
Turn the information into a story where each piece of information is a part of the plot. The more dramatic or humorous the story, the better it will be remembered. This technique is great for remembering sequences or related information. An embellished story to remember hisory facts, suddenly makes history fun and therefore easier to remember.
Making Mnemonics Work: Tips for Success
To really benefit from mnemonics, there are other strategies to add:
Really Get the Info: Make sure and encourage that the material that has to be learned is really well understood. Mnemonics are great for recall but understanding is key to be able to use the information later.
Pick Out the Big Stuff: Knowing what is important and what is not importand, and therefore can be forgotten, is a very important skill. Not every child has that skill automatically. Helping your child with this skill is something they will benefit from beyond the need to memorize.
Pick Your Hack: Not all techniques work for every type of information and not even for every child. Let your child experiment with different methods to find what works best for them. Have fun experimenting together.
Link It Up: Connecting new information to something familiar makes it easier to remember. Encourage your child to make these connections.
Practice: Repeat and practice. The best way to train our memory is to use it. Encourage regular review using these techniques.
The Takeaway: Personalize and Enjoy the Process!
The key to effective mnemonic devices is making them unique and personal. The weirder and more connected to personal experiences, the better. As parents, you can encourage creativity and personalization in creating these memory aids. The more laughter between you and your child, the more enjoyable the activity is, the more effective you are in helping your child with anxiety around studying.
The goal is not only to improve memory but also to make the process enjoyable and engaging.
By incorporating these mnemonic devices into their study habits, your child can transform the way they learn and remember. You will find that their confidence and enjoyment in learning grow. Something we all enjoy seeing in our children.
Let's work together to help your child be happier and feel successful. Contact us today.
Hanna Baer is an Educational Therapist with over 15 years of experience, co-founder of Neuro-fun Whole Child Therapy and mother of two amazing daughters. The one-of-a-kind program she and her husband Ben Baer developed improves the brain-body connection, behavior and learning skills. She helps children and young people feel happier and successful, helps parents and teachers to work together and improves parent-child relationships. Follow Hanna and Ben on Facebook.com/neurofunwholechild and instagram.com/neurofunwholechild