The fifth area of executive function according to Dr. Thomas Brown is Memory- utilizing working memory and accessing recall. What that means is remembering what you need when you need it.
…It is hard to be on time to an appointment when you don’t remember about it!
…You know you have to write a report, but what were those directions again?
…I want to make that new recipe I saw for dinner, where in the world did I leave the magazine, I know it was in a safe place!
These are some examples of the ways memory can impact our functioning, and it may seem disheartening because now what?
Today we will discuss one tool that anyone can implement to support working memory.
“Lists, lists, and more lists!” “When in doubt, write it down.” Both of these are sayings that people use to remind themselves to keep a written record of everything that they need to do.
If you need to remember directions, write them down, or create a visual cue to remind yourself. If you have a bunch of things to do, and you tend to forget something, record them all before you forget!
What if it is your child that is never remembering their lunch, their homework, their pajamas, or all of the above and you are at your wits end? Write it down! For a younger child, take a picture of your child completing each task. Hang the pictures in chronological order on a poster and hang it in a strategic location (their bedroom, the front door, or wherever it works for your family and the desired tasks). For older children, have them come up with the tasks and write or type a checklist for themselves. A cool trick is to laminate the paper and stick a dry erase marker next to the list with velcro, they can physically check off each task, and when the entire list is complete, it will wipe clean easily.
Some people have found it helpful to physically move something when a task is complete. Have you ever gone into the shower and when you are ready to come out, you can’t remember whether you have actually washed your hair? A great trick that I saw is that when you step into the shower, move all of your soaps, shampoos, etc. to the floor and put them back once you have used them. This trick could be used in any area of your life.
How are you going to use lists or physical reminders this week to help keep you on track?