Someone once told me “I have a 9-year-old boy who is so forgetful in nature. When I asked him to bring notes from school, he forgets them. He forgets his homework, he forgets he has a test and plays all day long. I talked to his teachers and we agreed to communicate using a communication book but he keeps forgetting this book in school. I feel lost and I do not understand why he is so forgetful in things that are important especially as regards his education; but he remembers his computer stuff well”.
Unfortunately a lot of us parents are in this situation and are wondering what we can do about it, especially now that these children are moving to a higher class. We feel their ability to remember things should have improved.
The truth is that children between 6 and 8 years are expected to remember everything from daily chores which are routine in nature to what they learn in class. When sent on an errand they should be able to remember and carry out the task with dispatch. They ought to be independent especially with their ability to remember things.
As parents we want to help our children overcome this challenge, so we adopt so many unfruitful means to achieve this. We keep asking ourselves how do i help my child? Below are ways we could help our children to overcome their forgetfulness.
1. Don’t use the negative words on your children, use positive words
Delete the word 'forget' from your vocabulary and use 'remember' instead. Instead of saying “So you forgot your notebook again”, say “I expected you to remember the notebook”. Always use the word ‘remember’ instead of ‘forget’.
2. Reward desired behaviors especially when the child got it right
As parents we have to find something our children remembered and reward them. Reward does not necessarily mean a gift, it could also be a word of affirmation for example “It’s great you remembered to bring this home today, well done”, “I’m proud of you for remembering to bring this home today”. Avoid sarcastic comments and criticism such as “you should have left in in school.”
3. Teach your child to remember
According to Danny Heimann, “The opposite of forgetting is writing down”. So we have to help our children learn the act of witting down what they need to do. That is teaching them to write a to-do-list. Go over the list on a regular basis. We should also encourage them to use whatever they like to achieve this purpose. For example using a computer to design a to-do-list.
4. Teach them remembering Strategies
Show them various things they can do that will help them not to be forgetful, for example using stick on papers to remind themselves of activities they need to carry out.
Allow your children to face the consequences of forgetfulness, don’t bail them out. For example, don’t quickly help your child to do his homework early in the morning, allow him to face punishment in school.
As parents, we have to help our children realize that remembering is an active process. Being able to remember things will make our children feel smarter and more confident and thus able to handle life issues that may face them at any point in time.