sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue). Each fresh encounter in life goes through a phase of photographic development in the brain, that is, the senses send signals to the brain, and the brain encodes these signals and develops a photograph.
As more of such photographs are developed, the brain stores it in one of its many racks. When in the future, you come by a similar experience or you want to remember something that happened in the past, the brain hunts for the right image and presents as a memory.
THE POWER OFMEMORIES
Memories are very important. They shape our lives and direct the path for the journey forward. That’s why a good memory should be built right from the formative years, because it’s what carves the path to a fruitful life.
When it comes to the overstressed lives that children lead in this competitive era, a sharp memory can become a lifesaver. A good memory is not an inherent gift, but must be cultivated with the right training and nutrition.
FOODS THAT NOURISH THE BRAIN
#EGGS: Eggs are a great source of nutrition, not only for the body, but for the brain too. They are packed with protein, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin B12. The yolk contains lecithin, an important ‘brain food’ that builds a good memory and improves concentration. The iron in the yolk is also good for brain function.
#KIWI: Kiwi is rich in vitamin C, an important nutrient for the absorption of iron. Without vitamin C, the body cannot absorb iron efficiently.
#BANANAS :Bananas provide instant energy and are a great snack to sustain your child’s concentration throughout the morning.
#DRIED NUTS: Dried fruits are not only a good source of energy, but are also rich in iron and help in brain functioning.
#OILY FISH: Good fats are a major component of the brain. These fatty acids also play an important role in brain cell function. The brainboosting oils (omega-3-fatty acids) can be abundantly found in oily fish like salmon, tuna, kippers and sardines. Your child will need at least 3 servings of the oily fish per week.
#WHOLE GRAINS: If there is one thing that the brain needs constantly, it is glucose and whole grains provide that in spades along with B-vitamins, which nourish a healthy nervous system.
# BERRIES: Most of the berries – like strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries are packed with high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin C. They should be included in the child’s diet, as some studies have shown that they improve memory.
#COLOURFUL VEGGIES: The more intense the natural colour of the fruit or vegetable, the more packed it is with essential nutrients. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, bell peppers and other vegetables that have rich, deep colours are a great source of antioxidants that keep the brain cells strong and healthy.
EXERCISES FOR THE GREY MATTER
Just like how the body becomes stronger and fitter with exercise, so does the brain. The more you train your brain, the sharper it gets. And it is easier to train a child’s brain, because it is less clouded with information than adults. Here are some exercises that will help improve your child’s memory.
#VISUAL TRAINING: An easy way of remembering things is to encourage your child to re-create the picture imprinted on his mind when you read out something aloud. For example, you could teach your child counting by telling him the three bears story and asking him to visualise 1 table with 3 chairs and sketch it on paper.
#ACTIVE READING: Highlights and sticky notes are good memory boosters at work. They are also a great way of getting your child to remember the information for a longer period. Encourage your child to jot down notes and underline or highlight important text that will help answer questions on that topic. Reading aloud and asking questions about the reading material can also enhance long-term memory.
#ADD COLOURS: Only a small part of the large sensory information percolates into the brain every second. Colours get filtered easily into the brain so it is good to associate colours with the information. Encourage your child to use coloured pens to create colorcoded notes.
#BREAK DOWN THE INFORMATION: A big number, a long sentence or a huge piece of information may be very challenging for the child’s brain to digest. Try breaking this information down into smaller bits, for example putting hyphens between phone numbers or giving multi-step directions that could make memorising easier.
FIND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
There are many other ways to boost memory like attaching a novelty to an experience (e.g. watching an interesting video clip before starting lessons to ease the stress), adding personal meaning to the lessons (e.g. making up a story for each new topic) or connecting new information with the old (e.g. recollecting a similar past activity while introducing a new one).
Today’s children are exposed to an ocean of knowledge and the expectations are also on an all-time high. Many children have succumbed to pressure. Learning only becomes meaningful when it is easy and enjoyable. Therefore, the first lesson for us when it comes to training the kids’ brainpower is to teach them how to relax and have fun learning.
Make your lessons more creative by asking your child to write down a summary of what he’s learned over the day, sketch the information he’s gathered or learn a poem/ rhyme as a jingle. Last but not least, since practice makes man perfect, your child should reminisce the information in a pattern, which can be recalled easily when needed.