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Children forget their responsibilities but still will not set up reminders for themselves

Posted February 23, 2018

Children have their own little responsibilities around the house. Not only it helps the parents at least a little bit, but it also teaches children valuable lessons about life. However, children have so much going on in their lives they often forget what they were asked to do. Scientists from The University of Queensland say that parents shouldn‘t nag – instead they should set up visual reminders.

Setting up simple visual reminders for children on 9 years of age or under can help them remember what they have to do. Image credit: Adam Diaz via Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 4.0)

We set up reminders for ourselves all the time – we forget things we have to do too. However, this new research showed that children are unlikely to create visual reminders for themselves until they are nine years of age. Scientists invited children, aged from 7 to 13, to play a computer game, which asked them to remember to perform a number of simple actions. Children could set reminders for themselves to make the task easy and all children regardless of their age understood that they would be performing worse if there was more to remember.

Shortages of memory are anticipated and pretty much all children understood that. However, only those aged nine and above chose to set up reminders for themselves. This is quite interesting, because it was a computer game, which children are typically very good at. However, only older ones understood that they could increase their performance by setting simple reminders. This is quite important for parents – this means that telling children “not to forget” something is not going to do anything. Even if they know that forgetting is likely and it is important not to, they will not set any reminders for themselves.

So what can parents do to make their children remember to accomplish their simple little responsibilities? Well, scientists suggest setting up reminders by yourself. They should be visual and easy to notice. Adam Bulley, one of the authors of the study, said: “For example, placing a timetable of weekly household chores on a child’s bedroom door would alleviate their need to remember these actions by themselves. Leaving key items by the front door can also activate the memory to pack their school bag with the things they need for the day ahead”. Visual reminders are especially necessary for younger children.

Parents should anticipate their children forgetting things. Adults forget what they are supposed to do all the time and children do too. We set reminders for ourselves, make to do lists, set alarm on our phones – we have to help children not to forget too.


Source: The University of Queensland

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