What does that remind you of?
This simple question is a powerful builder of language, memory, and thinking.
These six words build a bridge across time–back then and right now become connected.
How it works: Point out something new that relates to what your child already knows. The previous experience might be a book read together, a favorite toy, or a familiar place. What you choose and how you frame the questions will depend on your child’s age and experience. Let your child fill in the blanks.
A few examples that could nudge a memory.
- Sunny weather This sunny day reminds me of a song we like to sing. Let’s sing it!
- Ants on the sidewalk Look at all those ants. Where did we see some ants the other day?
- Display of strawberries at the grocery This reminds me of something yummy we ate. Do you remember what it was?
- Construction equipment along side the road This reminds me of a book we like. What is the book I’m thinking about?
Language. He uses language to describes what he sees now, and what he remembers from the past.
Memory. He remembers the book, the pictures, and the discussions you’ve had.
Thinking. How does thinking apply? He takes a real-life example and processes it to match it up with pictures he’s seen. Size, shape, color, actions, sounds…does it match what he already knows? Does it conflict? How do the two events compare? Is new information added to his existing knowledge? The moment he realizes “this is the same” is exciting!
What if your child doesn’t understand the connection you are making?
Help by modeling the thinking:
This reminds me of the book we like to read: Good Night, Good Night Construction Site. See the big excavator over there? That looks like the picture we saw in our book. Remember the excavator? Yes, this reminds of the picture we have in our book.
If the idea of “remind” is new, what then? Your examples will make the meaning clear. Look at that little dog playing with a ball. What does remind you of? It reminds me of the book we read yesterday, A Ball for Daisy! Look how the dog rolls the ball around with his nose.
You can repeat this kind of modeling, until eventually your child will understand that saying, “This reminds me of…” connects something in the past with something in the present.
Of course, this kind of statement isn’t just for books. Use it also when you see one event that reminds you of another.
Other examples of connection conversations:
- This car is such a bright yellow! What did we see this morning that is the same color?
- What a big dog! Do you think this dog is bigger or smaller than Grandpa’s dog?
- Oh, look at the little baby. We know a baby, too, don’t we? What’s the name of the baby we know? Do you think this baby is bigger or smaller than Aiden?
Try this strategy at home or when you’re out and about.
The trick is to be aware of your child’s recent experiences and be ready to draw a line to what he is experiencing now.
Good news: It’s all done on the fly–no preplanning needed!