In the front part of the brain, in the aptly named frontal lobe, you’ll find the self-regulation and executive functions. These are where the crucial skills for learning and development are honed that allow children to focus, multi-task, prioritize, remember tasks, make decisions.
Consider it like an air traffic control system for children, where multiple tasks are managed and balanced in order to get all the planes to take-off and land safely. For children with low executive functions, even the best lessons and textbooks fall short, because they don’t have the skills they need to process, retain and use this information. These are the skills your child needs to learn and develop academically, which will also work towards making them succeed into adulthood.
Let’s look more in-depth at memory as an executive function and the skill of working memory within cognitive function for kids.
Your working memory is essentially your short-term memory, but rather than it being singularly stored, the information is sent to different areas to be processed. Working memory is in charge of the whole system. The Central Executive directs where the information goes when it comes in and allocates it to one of the other systems based on whether the information is visual, spatial, auditory or written.
These three system processes are responsible for the main areas of working memory which allow children to:
- Set goals and work towards them
- Manage their time
- Organise actions and thoughts
- Consider future consequences in light of a current (or upcoming) actions
These are all key areas to solving problems academically and in life. Children use their working memory in order to concentrate, remain focused and follow instructions. This further enhances their abilities to learn, adapt and problem solve.
In school, children who use and develop their working memory are better able to remain focused and concentrate on tasks in front of them. For example, when given a maths problem, your children will need to remember the information they are given, be able to recall the correct formula and apply it, as well as concentrate on the steps until he/she gets to the right answer.
Working memory also involves using pieces of information while continually learning and applying new learnings in any given situation. For example, when you give a child a series of instructions that they need to follow one after the other, this uses working memory as they recall the sequence while applying it. Those with a weaker working memory will often have difficulty remembering the instructions or recalling formulas and completing tasks that require actively calling up important information.
However, working memory is not limited to a classroom, making social decisions relies on processing the information you are receiving at that moment and concentrating enough to make an informed choice. The ability to manage your child’s goals rely heavily on working memory on making sure short-term tasks are met and the way he/she will relay one task to another.
Working memory plays an integral role in your child’s development both academically and in life and while it naturally improves with age, there are things you can do to strengthen it now and set them up long-term in their careers and further education.
Using technology and gamification is an excellent way to develop working memory while still motivating your child and making it engaging. Following the NeeuroFIT enrichment curriculum is another beneficial alternative you can explore which involves simply spending an hour a week to develop these core executive functions. The hour is split between an introduction, a physical activity such as a board game to encourage tactile learning and brain training games to test progression. The curriculum aims to develop the foundation of cognitive function to help children succeed in life and school and parents can see progress or reports of how well their children are doing through the centralized portal.
A particular favorite is the Sushi Recall game where your child will have to remember the sequence of the sushi they are shown and are then asked to recall them. As the game gets more challenging, multiple sushi will disappear at once meaning your child needs to recall and hold the previous sushi sequence in their memory at the same time, strengthening their working memory.
Get a jump start on developing your child’s working memory and help them to succeed long-term. To learn more about the brain training programme and Neeuro’s Memorie app, visit our website and find out more about how developing cognitive function can help your children.