Between learning nursery rhymes and names of his preschool or kindergarten classmates, your child's memory may hit overload at some point. However, one of the most important lessons he should learn is how to memorize his address and phone number.
"The primary reason for children to know their address and phone number is obviously for safety in case the child becomes lost," says Jennifer Little, 40-year educator and educational psychologist in Milwaukie, Oregon, who has taught from the preschool to graduate level. "Learning information about one's self is also an introduction to the skills needed in school."
Make learning about his contact information fun and memorable with games, songs and repetition.
Keep your child entertained while learning his address and phone number. "Young children enjoy rhyming activities, which are readiness skills rarely taught to the extent that children need," says Little. With your child's help, create words that rhyme with your street name. Ask your child, "What rhymes with Cross Street?" and make suggestions like "boss" and "moss." Take the activity one step further by choosing words that rhyme with your city and state, too.
Making up stories using your street number in correct sequence calls attention to the digits and makes them important, Little says. If your house number is 245, create a tale with 245 silly monsters or 2 cats, 4 dogs and 5 monkeys.
Make the stories physical, too, to keep your little one engaged. "When fingers are involved, it gets more brain pathways involved," Little says. For example, the adult could say, "Show me 2," "Show me 2 and now 4," and then "Show me 2, now 4, now 5" to represent 245 Cross Street.
Working outside of the home and classroom may help your child to learn his address and phone number in a more comfortable atmosphere. Get some fresh air, take a walk and begin an address or phone number scavenger hunt. "Having the child read the street numbers when walking along the street helps the child realize that each one is unique and important," says Little. Point out numbers on signs and homes to represent those in your telephone number and see if your child can count down the house numbers to find his own.
One of the most effective techniques for memorization is reverse chaining, Little says. Instead of starting with the beginning, you start at the end so the entire sequence is practiced frequently. For example, an adult could say the address but leave out the last bit of information. The child should then supply the last bit of information after the adult has gone through the whole sequence. Gradually, the adult leaves out the last two bits of information, and in the next round, the last three bits of information, for the child to provide. "These engage different parts of the brain and develop the neural connections so that rapid recall happens," says Little.