Thu. Jun 30th, 2022
Working memory: what it is for and how to enhance it in children

Working memory is one of the fundamental aspects that helps us to store information that allows us to carry out tasks in our day to day, and it is very important for children to be able to learn and follow instructions , among other aspects.

Activities like reading, doing math, or completing many other tasks require working memory.

When there are problems with this cognitive ability , it is very difficult to retain information long enough to be able to learn, and that is when children have academic problems.

We are going to discover here what this skill consists of, in better detail, why it is useful and how we can help children to enhance it.

What is working memory?

Working memory is a cognitive ability, an “active memory” that allows information from the environment to be encoded , processed, stored (retained) temporarily in memory, and manipulated for later use.

For example, we use working memory to decide which and how many buses to take to get home, based on our tasks, the time we want to get home, and available schedules.

Thus, this ability encompasses all the mnemic (memory) processes that our brain carries out in order to store information in a short time . This information can later be used to carry out more complex activities.

Essential to develop other skills

Working memory, also known as working memory, is what also allows you to perform several activities at the same time .

And this is essential to be able to develop mathematical skills , acquire reading comprehension, be able to solve problems , make decisions, etc. In children, it is essential.

How to boost working memory in children

If your child has problems with his working memory, do not worry, it is not something serious that will prevent him from learning.

But like many other things, this type of memory can be worked on and stimulated through simple exercises that you can do with it. Here are some examples.

Tell stories

Oral narration is a strategy that has always been present in humanity, and it is through words that the history and desires of all are told .

So what better option to help strengthen our children’s working memory. They can tell stories, whether they have been heard or read or are completely made up.

An interesting twist to this activity is to take classic stories and make up different endings for them as you tell them . It’s a simple exercise that will help boost your working memory.


Reading is an activity that can be very fun , plus it allows you to spend quality time with children. Always look for books with topics that are of interest to you so that it can motivate you more and, therefore, stimulate you to pay more attention .

The idea is to read together, pause briefly and ask him about what you have just read .

Remember that this is not an interrogation and that you do not have to say word for word what you have just read; just to tell you what he remembers or what he thinks about it. In this sense, you can give him freedom.

play by repeating

Another interesting game to stimulate working memory, and in which all the members of the family can join , is to repeat what the others have said.

It is about choosing a particular theme; for example, colors. Each member must say a color .

But it is not just about trying not to repeat the colors, but rather that each person before saying their color must repeat in order the colors that the others have previously said. This game can be made with any theme; numbers, names, objects, countries, animals , food, etc.

Table games

One of the most valuable resources that exist to stimulate working memory are board games , because they require processing and storing a lot of information in a short time that allows you to make the best decisions to continue playing and win.

No matter what type of game you choose, they all work very well for this purpose; In addition, they offer a fun time for all participants.

Not only is it ideal for improving working memory, but this activity also helps to socialize and have fun.

visual memory

Another interesting option to enhance working memory is to work on the part of visual memory. For this you can ask the child to tell you about a scene of what he has lived but describing it as if it were a photograph.

The idea is that you can tell as many details as you can remember about something that happened to you. Try to always be pleasant events for the child, such as play time or enjoyment.

If it turns into something funny , he will probably be more attentive later so he can tell you all the details.

“The teaching that leaves its mark is not the one that is done from head to head, but from heart to heart.”

-Howard G.Hendricks-

Cognitive stimulation sheets

There are some very interesting and easy to obtain cognitive stimulation worksheets on the internet to boost children’s working memory. They are aimed at working on memory and concentration , and in them the child has to fulfill a series of premises or tasks, such as the one that we leave you below.

In this case, you will need to look at the box on the left for a few seconds, cover it, and cross out the shapes in the box on the right that were not in the box on the left. This activity is recommended from the age of six or seven.

Working memory: its importance

Working memory is essential for children to learn, and it directly affects their academic performance, so it is important to stimulate it.

And there is no better way to do it than through play , which is the best way to develop skills in childhood.

Love and patience: two essential ingredients

Remember that every child is different and there is nothing wrong with that. If your child is having a hard time following directions or learning new things, don’t panic; with a lot of patience and love you can help him develop his learning and his growth.

“Study without desire spoils the memory and retains nothing of what it takes.”

-Leonardo da Vinci-