As a parent you will probably identify with this picture. You tell your child how to cross the road to go to school, you speak clearly, your child seems to understand your instructions and all seems well on the road crossing front...
But a few days later little Sam comes to you and says that he does not know how to cross a road. You wonder if he was just not concentrating, you know that you spoke on his level...
Dopamine is the hormone in the brain which will assist in the memory of an experience or an event. When Dopamine is absent then it appears as if there is no memory, interest or motivation in the activities on offer. However, if there is interest in the activity then more Dopamine is released and more information is retained.
Dopamine also allows us to remain focused through positive reinforcement and positive outcomes. Dopamine is also released through positive and happy memories; a happy family holiday or personal achievement such as learning to ride a bicycle are viewed as positive experiences and will be remembered with ease.
Learning new things should be always exciting for you and your child. New experiences provide for enthusiasm and interest in children. We as parents must present new experiences to our children in novel and exciting ways to capture the interest of the child. It is imperative that we must set the bar higher and higher in the interest stakes to keep Dopamine levels high among our children. In this way they remain focused and interested when we as parents are teaching them something new.
Parents of young children could teach measuring by baking biscuits, as a parent of an older child you can explain physics with the aid of building bridges with toothpicks.
Increased enthusiasm increases Dopamine. Increased Dopamine increases memory and motivation. Another practical example of how to drive up dopamine levels is to ask a quiet child a question. As this child is gently guided to answer the question correctly in front of other children and then consequently praised, Dopamine levels rise and the parent will find that the information will be retained and that this reinforcement will be invaluable in the future. Reinforcement when used correctly is an amazing memory enhancer because it increases dopamine in the brain.
Teaching children can be rewarding; just keep them doped!