I admit it. I have a hard time remembering people’s names. It is a weakness and something I have to constantly work on.
I am always looking for ways to become better at remembering names.
Yesterday at church, we had a 5th grade girl who was a guest. She had no church background and her grandparents brought her.
We wanted to make sure she felt comfortable and right at home. One way we did this was to use her name often.
Thankfully, she had a name tag on so that obviously made it easier. But what about after she was checked out? As she was leaving with her grandparents, would we be able to call her by name? What if we saw her at the grocery store after church? What if we wanted to introduce her to some other children after she had taken the name tag off?
One of the sweetest sounds to a child’s ears is their name (that goes for big kids as well). When you can call a child by name, it shows that you care enough about them to make the effort to remember their name.
If you have a difficult time remembering names, you are not alone.
According to an article n Psychology Today, this issue just worsens with age, as nearly 85% of
middle-aged and older adults forget names. But I don’t think we should blame it solely on aging. No matter your age, I believe you can improve in remembering children’s names.
Remembering names is important. It makes people feel good to hear their name, and they pay greater attention. Studies show
that hearing our name activates our brain, even when it’s spoken in a
Here are 10 ways you can get better at remembering a child’s name.
Focus on the child more than the child’s name tag. As I said, you won’t always have the convenience of the child having a name tag on. Your goal should be to memorize the children’s name without the help of a name tag.
Say their name 10 times in your head. I have a friend that is excellent at remembering people’s names. He told me his secret is to stop and say their name 10 times in his head. This enables this person to be great at remembering kids’ names.
Really listen. If you are looking at the person, but carrying on another conversation in your head, you will have a difficult time remembering the person’s name.
Ron White, the winner of the USA Memory Championship in 2010 says this.
A major reason you don’t recall names is you weren’t
listening. Someone says their name and two seconds later you don’t know
it. This is not a memory problem. It is a focus problem,
Link the child’s name to something you already know. Connect the new name to a person or object that is already stored in your memory. This can help you anchor the name to a memory you already have.
Repeat the child’s name again when you are saying good-by. Simply saying “Goodbye, Ryan” or “See you again soon Ryan” will go a long way in helping you remember their name the next time you see them.
Be more interested in other people than you are trying to be interesting. If you are not intentional about getting to know the child and finding out about them, then your own desire to be interesting will hinder you from remembering their name. Make it about them…not you.
Most psychologists and memory experts point out that one of the main
reasons we forget someone’s name is that we’re not really focused on
learning it in the first place. There’s too much else going on, and it’s
vying for our attention.
Immediately say their name back to them. After you hear someone’s name, immediately repeat it back to them. You could say, “Nice to
meet you Kristen.”
Use their name in a sentence. For example, if the child you are talking with says her name is Jill, say “Hi, Jill, it is nice to meet you.
Associate the name. Internally connect their name to an object or interest. For example, if the child’s first name is Michelle, when you see the child, think about a missile that is being launched.
Be honest when you forget a child’s name. None of us are perfect. There will be times when we forget a child or parent’s name. Apologize when this happens and use the steps above to get their name in your memory.
Once you do this, you will not forget their name again.
Your turn. What are some other things you do to remember a child’s or parent’s name? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comment section below.