Memory Development In Children

How to train your childrens memory through stages of early development. What research has uncovered about your child's memory.

Years back, scientists and researchers believed a child possessed no real memory skills until their eight or ninth month of life. Parents have been expressing the contrary for quite a long period of time. These myths have stifled professionals and baffled parents, until they recently began to be disproved with fascinating studies.

Latest research into a baby's memory is really very interesting for both researchers and parents alike. According to an article in American Baby Magazine, February 2000, p.36 entitled Total Recall, a baby's long term memory can be for as long as twenty-four hours at six weeks old and up to four months time at sixteen months old. This is fascinating because it proves a baby does have specific memory.

Setting up routines on a daily basis is good practice for memory development. This establishes predictability, comfort and healthy expectations. Repeating playtime rituals will help a child remember how to play with a particular toy, learn a particular motor skill and adapt to environment.



It is easier for your child to remember a new skill if it is taught to them several times using short sessions, rather than a few long playtimes. "If you spread eighteen minutes of total playtime over three days instead of two, baby can remember that skill for two weeks," states Carolyn Rovee-Collier, PhD, of Rutgers University.

Context is very important for baby's memory skill. They will recall their surroundings, a song or a particular game in their short term memory if nothing about it changes or is taken out of context. Alter one aspect and it will not be recognized by baby even one day later. Adults have a difficult time grasping this reality because, to them, it is insignificant. You will notice if you change a baby's crib outfit, the toys they play with or the songs you sing; they will have a reaction to this unfamiliarity. (Not necessarily a bad reaction, mind you.)

Short-term memory in a baby has been traced back to prenatal stages as early as the development of the fetus. In the fortieth week, a fetus can remember a stimulus ten minutes later with a lasting memory for up to twenty-four hours. Similar studies are being performed periodically to uncover more findings. These studies are available in medical journals and other similar papers.

Several variables contribute to your child's memory. In particular, proper nutrition for a child's first eighteen months is crucial in their long-term memory development, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. "The authors concluded that nutritional supplementation during the critical first eighteen months of infant development can lead to enduring benefits in working memory," states the December 1997 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to studies performed by researchers at the University of Iowa, "Some children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also have memory problems that need separate assessment and treatment." The ability to tell the difference between learning difficulties (memory retention) as a result of inattention or memory defects and assessing both situations is critical. With the ability to perform memory testing on your child at the first sign of concern, your treatment options are clearer. Remember that a child with a learning disability will also have difficulty with memory, but will be less likely to show this at home. A child with ADHD is not affected environmentally and will show symptoms anywhere.

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