Join my pack asks: I have a 9-yr-old son. How can I improve his memory power, as he always forget his stuff in the school and never completes his work? He is a very active child and very talkative. Then what is the reason that he is so lazy with his school works?
Hi join my pack –
I’m going to give you the worst answer in the world, one you’re likely to hate:
Your son is right on schedule.
You say your son is active and talkative; that tells me that he’s curious and interested in things, and he doesn’t suffer from depression or some debilitating disease. But he doesn’t complete his work, and forgets things in school. Like most nine-year-old boys.
Of course, it’s easy to say, the best way for him to remember more of what he learns in school is for him to complete his work (that’s what it’s there for, after all). But the more important fact is that we remember much more of what interests us than what doesn’t.
My human friend Handsome told me a story about this. When he was just older than your son, he had to write a report about every book he read. Nothing big, just a paragraph or two. At one point, he read a 300-page book about a family raising lions. Nothing against lions, but he barely managed to come up with three sentences about it. He simply couldn’t remember any more of it than that. Then one night he read a 50-page book about horror movies – the first time he’d ever seen a book about these flicks he loved so much. And it excited him so much, he wasn’t able to fit his report into the teacher’s form – he needed three pages to write it up! In fact, I’ll bet if you asked him about it a month after he read it, he could have easily told you a hundred facts he learned from it.
So your son needs one simple thing – to become interested in what they teach him in school.
When I went to dog-training school, I certainly wasn’t interested in things like sitting or staying; I wanted to play with all the other dogs. But Handsome had a bag of little meaty treats, that grabbed my attention something fierce! And he used them very well, to the degree that I was able to concentrate and learn what I needed to.
So that might be a trick for you – to give your son a reward every time he finishes his work, or does well at school. (This is far better than punishing him for not getting these things done, which can result in a negative attitude and him actually losing incentive – like a dog that gets punished so often she loses her desire to learn).
Another idea is for you to work on his homework with him, and let him know what excites you about his subjects. History is dull when it’s just facts, but when you understand why it matters to people (especially to your parents, the most important people in the universe when you’re nine), it becomes fascinating. Same with science. And math becomes fun when you can make it a game – each question being a puzzle, which you can only figure out if you know how to do it just right! Even a subject as dry as grammar can work that way – how to best express that thought.
Now it may turn out that your son has ADHD or something like that. But for now, I wouldn’t worry about that. I’d just say that you are a very lucky parent to have an active and social son, and that your job is to try these ideas I suggested (and maybe come up with some others of your own) to help him get through this fun but frustrating time in his life. And to trust that he’s going to turn out fine.
After all, there’s no way he’s more hyper and inattentive than I was when I was a puppy, and today I’m the most amazing dog I know!
All my best,