Rhys has always had a good memory.
He just seems to have this natural ability to retain information. And he definitely gets it from his father, not me!
My memory is really quite shocking. I’m not sure if it was ever great (I can’t remember, ha!) but it’s definitely declined since having the children. I think baby brain is a very real thing, and that combined with lack of sleep and generally trying to keep track of 100 different things, as you do when you’re a parent, has resulted in me being quite forgetful.
My coping strategy so far has been to use lists.
I have lists everywhere. Of everything. Although, annoyingly, sometimes I forget where I’ve put my carefully written lists!
So I think it’s time to try some other techniques to help with my memory. After doing some research I think these 3 tricks are a good place to start.
Try a mnemonic device
Mnemonic devices are techniques we can use to help improve how well we remember things. There are various mnemonics we can use, so there should be something out there for anything we might need to remember.
The most common mnemonics seem to be music mnemonics and expression/word mnemonics.
So, children learning the alphabet by singing the abc song, are actually using a music mnemonic to help them remember it.
And how do you remember how many days are in each month? Chances are you recite the little poem ’30 days hath September’, to help you. That would be an expression mnemonic!
Of course, that one’s not too helpful for me because I always end up saying this version that I learnt as a child.
30 days hath September, April, June and no wonder. All the rest have jam for tea except for Grandmother who rides a bicycle.
Not entirely helpful!
One expression mnemonic that I do still find really handy to this day is the one I use to help me remember the order of the colours in a rainbow.
I’ve said this to myself so many times in recent years as my children get me to help them draw pictures of rainbows!
Putting this into practice then, I could come up with a little rhyme or sentence to help me remember that I need to get bread, milk, apples, grapes and cheese from the shops. Hmm, how about Bring Me A Giant Coffee! I think I could remember that!
Visualising the thing you want to remember can be really helpful.
So going back to my little shopping list, I could visualise myself holding each item I needed to buy. The more vivid and detailed you can make that mental image, the better.
Another way to use visualisation to help remember things is to use the method of loci.
Basically this involves mentally placing the items you need to remember in various places around your home. Then when you need to recall the items, you ‘walk’ through your house and see, for example, a load of bread by the front door, a pint of milk sitting on the sofa, an apple on every step on the staircase, and so on.
If visualising isn’t your thing, then maybe getting vocal will help instead. Research has found that reading things out loud significantly improves our memory of what we’ve read. I wrote a post a while ago about the fact that saying the name of a missing item can help you to find it, because it focuses your attention on it and helps you remember where you last saw it.
Saying things out loud really does seem to cement them more in our memories. So, next time you’re introduced to a new mum friend make sure to repeat their name when they tell you it – “so nice to meet you Claire” – and then use it again a few times in the conversation with them.
I really need to do this more, it might reduce the number of people that I refer to as ‘so and so’s mum’!
So there we go, 3 things to try to help me remember things better.
I really hope that using a mixture of these three techniques will help me to improve my memory.
Do you use any of these tricks? What is your failsafe way to remember things?