Everyone forgets things from time to time, but it seems the more kids you have, the more forgetful you become. Forgetting an appointment or an important deadline occasionally is frustrating, and sometimes costly, but when you notice it happening regularly, it’s time to get organized. What are some easy tips parents can use to improve memory?
Write it down
Use a spiral notebook to write everything in. You can use them for menu planning, shopping lists, to-do lists, notes from phone calls and doctor appointments, and holiday and vacation planning. Write the date on the front so you can look back if needed. According to a study done at UCLA, taking notes, rather than typing on a laptop, improves memory. So, it follows that taking notes during a meeting, writing to-do, and shopping lists and using paper calendars and planners should help you remember more easily.
There’s an app for that
If you prefer to go paperless, technology offers great tools to help you remember what you have on your plate today. Everything, no matter how trivial, goes on a list or calendar in an app you can use on your phone. Many families like the ease of electronic calendars because they can be shared easily with all family members. You can also utilize the alarm function on your phone. Set alarms and name them for recurring events and select the days you want them to go off. Try alarms for appointments, or as reminders to take medicine or grab the library books for school. The key to using technology effectively is to be diligent about entering the information as soon as it’s received.
Take care of yourself
When you are overtired, hungry, or stressed, prioritizing, organizing and remembering what needs to be done can be difficult. A good night’s sleep can do wonders to help improve memory. Similarly, a healthy diet of food low in saturated fats can help keep your mind sharp. Eating empty calories will cause you to feel tired and sluggish, making it difficult to focus. If you are already eating and sleeping well, try adding cardiovascular activity to your day. Exercise can greatly improve memory. Depending on your fitness level, start with 10 to 20 minutes of brisk walking each day to give yourself a boost.
The art of multitasking
Parents become great multitaskers. We simultaneously pack school lunches, feed the kids breakfast, watch the news and go through a mental checklist for the day. Although this can be a very useful approach, it also can adversely affect memory. When our minds are occupied with multiple things at once, forgetting one of them is far too easy. With the constant bombardment of information in today’s society, breaking this habit can be hard. Try sitting down for a few minutes in the morning to focus on what needs to be done. Prioritize your tasks, set reminders on your phone, make lists and check the calendar to ensure you don’t miss anything important.
You can improve your memory by doing things you enjoy or trying something new. One way to keep the mind sharp is to take on new challenges on a regular basis. Learn to play the piano or take up knitting, read a book or work on logic puzzles—or simply visit a museum and learn something new. When we keep our minds active and sharp, our memory improves.
Fun activities that improve memory
- Learn to play an instrument.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Learn a new language.
- Play logic games and puzzles.
- Take up knitting or crochet.
- Do crafts and/or scrapbook.
- Read a book or magazine.
- Listen to music or audiobooks.
- Play games that involve hand-eye coordination, like tennis or basketball.
- Play videogames.