New research shows that kids are often able to better recall information days after learning it.
Researchers from The Ohio State University found that children's minds can actually sharpen over time. The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, examined a small sample size of 82 preschoolers.
Each 4- and 5-year-old was asked to remember word-pair associations while playing a video game. Half of the children replayed the game that same day, while the other group replayed the same game two days later.
Children who replayed the video game on the same day scored consistently with their first score—as if they were learning brand-new information the second time around.
On the other hand, the group that played days later scored 20 percent higher, proving that time off helped them better recall associations.
The study shows evidence of "extreme forgetting" and "delayed remembering."
"First, we showed that if children are given pieces of similar information in close proximity, the different pieces interfere with each other, and there is almost complete elimination of memory," explains lead author Vladimir Sloutsky, M.D., in the study's news release. "Second, we showed that introducing delays eliminates this interference."
Researchers noted that this does not mean kids can absorb the same amount of information as adults, but it may mean that kids memories can improve with time.
"An implication is that kids can be smarter than we necessarily thought they could be," said co-author Kevin Darby. "They can make complex associations, they just need more time to do it."
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn