What supports the development of children’s prospective memory? Examining the relation between children’s prospective memory, memory strategy use, and parent scaffolding

Tessa R. Mazachowsky, Colin Hamilton, Caitlin E. V. Mahy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Remembering to carry out intended actions in the future, known as prospective memory (PM), is an important cognitive ability. In daily life, individuals remember to perform future tasks that might rely on effortful processes (monitoring) but also habitual tasks that might rely on more automatic processes. The development of PM across childhood in laboratory contexts is well understood, but little is known about the social context in which children develop their PM
skills in everyday life. In the current study, three hundred and one parents reported on their 3-to 11-year-old child’s PM, child’s strategy use, and on their own scaffolding of their child’s PM using the Children’s Everyday Memory Questionnaire (CEMQ; adapted from the Prospective Memory Questionnaire; Hannon et al., 1995). Preliminary analyses showed the PM items on the CEMQ were reliable and composed of two components (a PM and a PM strategy use subscale). Our results showed that children’s PM and use of memory strategies, as reported by their parents, increased with age. Further, more frequent parent scaffolding was related to better PM in children. These relations were also explored separately for older and younger children. Notably, parents of younger, 3-to 6-year-olds reported scaffolding them more frequently with age, while
parents of older, 7-to 11-year-olds reported scaffolding them less frequently with age. Openended responses revealed that parents used verbal reminders and children used external aids most frequently. Overall, parent scaffolding appears to impact children’s PM, but future research is needed to identify the causal direction of these relations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 May 2021

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