Once your children start to show they know how to do the behaviour you ask, you might think they no longer need to be reminded. But without regular reminders, children will quickly forget what to do.

You will soon find yourself losing a lot of time having to reteach your expectations again. This is because the behaviour you taught them is not in their long term memory yet.

If you don’t remind your children regularly, all your hard work will be quickly forgotten

How often should you remind?

Space out reminders through the day

Spacing out reminders in short bursts through the day is more effective than just reminding your child just before the behaviour happens.

Here’s how you space reminders out three times:

  1. Your first reminder is in the morning when your child’s mind is fresh and ready to learn.
  2. The second reminder is just before the behaviour is required
  3. The third reminder is during the behaviour itself, and is can be used as feedback when they get it right.

Reminder 1: Morning Routine

Make your first reminder at the start of each day. Have a conversation as part of your morning routine, reminding your child what the expected behaviour is. Back it up by using gestures that represent the behaviour. Then practice with your child by showing them what the behaviour looks like, and then get them to show you.

You can also use images and words as reminders on a sign in a prominent place, like a fridge door or a cupboard door.

For example: if you want your child to remember to take their ball to football practice, remind them in the morning, gesture the shape of the football, and get them to show you the ball in their bag.

Reminder 2: Just before the behaviour

Just before the behaviour, remind your child again. You may not have the advantage of signs with pictures, but this is where you can use gestures that represent the expected behaviour.

For example, you could gesture the shape of a ball when reminding your child to take their football to school, just before they leave for the game.

Make sure you check for understanding by getting your child to show you. Rather than have your child simply nod or say yes when you ask them to remember their football, get them to show you they have the football.

Reminder 3: During the behaviour

During the behaviour itself, continue to provide quick reminders using words or gestures. This way you are also providing feedback, letting your child know they are doing the behaviour correctly, or helping them remember if they have forgotten by showing them what they need to do.

For example, you can remind your child “Got your football?” just before they go out to play. When they remember without you reminding them, give them positive feedback by saying “Good to see you have your football.”

Reminders stay in your child’s brain

Reminders help your child to get it right more often while they are learning.

When you remind your child before the behaviour, they know what to do before hand. They don’t waste their brain energy trying to remember what to do. They use their brain to focus on mastering the behaviour itself.

Reminders also help your child visualise what to do. Visualisation strengthens the memory of the behaviour in their brain cells as well. Using gestures or signs with pictures strengthens visualisation.

Getting a child to show you even when they have remembered the correct behaviour is still reinforcing the action in the brain so that they are more likely to remember the next time.

So the more often you remind you child, the more likely they will remember permanently.

Learn how to use effective reminders with your child

Learn how to help your child remember to do the behaviour you expect with my online course Great Expectations. 12 practical lessons with skills you can start using straight away


Thanks so much for reading. Got questions or suggestions? Contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

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Published On: May 30th, 2021 / Categories: For Parents, News /