Why is Working Memory Important?
What is Working Memory?
As a parent, you may have heard of the term ‘working memory’ when consulting with your child’s teachers or reading articles about child development. But what exactly is working memory, and why is it important for your child’s success in school and in life? In this blog post, we will explore the definition, functions, and strategies to improve your child’s working memory skills.
Working memory is the system in the brain that temporarily holds and processes information needed for tasks such as learning, problem solving, and decision making. It is essential for children to develop strong working memory skills to succeed academically, as it is closely related to academic achievement, reading comprehension, mathematical reasoning, and writing skills. Working memory also plays a crucial role in their social and emotional development, by helping them regulate their thoughts, behaviours, and emotions.
How to Improve Working Memory
Working memory is not a fixed capacity, but can be improved with practice and training. There are several strategies that parents can use to enhance their child’s working memory skills, such as breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps, using visual aids and illustrations to aid learning, encouraging active questioning and critical thinking, and providing opportunities for repetition and practice. Exercise, healthy diet, and good sleep hygiene also contribute to optimal brain health and functioning.
An important consideration for parents is to recognize that every child’s working memory capacity is different, and that individual differences in working memory can affect their learning and academic performance. Some children may experience working memory difficulties, which can manifest as forgetfulness, distractibility, poor organization, and slow processing speed. In these cases, parents can consult with their child’s teacher or a learning specialist to identify and address their child’s specific needs and challenges. For example, teachers may provide extra time and support for working memory-intensive tasks, while learning specialists may use specialized interventions and accommodations to target working memory difficulties.
Working memory is a critical cognitive function that supports children’s learning, problem-solving, and social-emotional development. As parents, by understanding the definition, functions, and strategies to enhance working memory skills, we can help our children achieve their full potential and thrive in school and in life. By providing support, encouragement, and resources, we can help our children develop strong working memory skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.