Observation Skills, What to teach your children

I have worked outdoor in one way or another most of my adult working life. During this time I was fortunate to do jobs in the police that some people don’t even know exist. Some of these people would say at times are exciting and at time dangerous. They involved going through various assessments and test to see if I had the right skills to do the job. One skill that came up time and time again was observation skills. You would think that these are skill that all police officers have, but you would be surprised at the level many officers display. From the few that end up taking the assessment there is a large failure rate. I was also involved with surveillance along with various forms of evidence gathering. I learned skills that developed and added to my love of nature and the outdoors. Perry McGee recently described it to me as “Sign Awareness”

Using the term Sign Awareness instead of “Tracking” means there is a better understanding of the skills and the purpose and use of those skills in a positive way. Rather than the stereotypical belief that the skills are soley for hunting

I may have been lucky and observation was something that came natural. I have always been good at remembering what I saw and had learned various skills at school. Being dyslexic at school when I was a student was something that wasn’t often noticed. I struggled with writing and English, Never mind French. But I learned that I could learn lessons off by heart and it didn’t effect me as long as it looked like I had written my notes.

I try and pass these skills on to my children. Not because they are dyslexic, because they are skills that can be fun and very useful. Especially if you decide to have a career where you need to notice small details under pressure. These are skills you can teach your children by playing simple games.

First is a simple game to play in the car or whilst walking around. I will ask my daughter what colour a car was that drove past in the opposite direction, or how many people were stood at a bus stop. You can ask more difficult questions as your child’s skills develop. You can eventually start asking what a car vehicle registration number (VRN) of cars you see

Beware though. As your child develops observation skills, they will start asking you questions. So keep alert and keep your observation skill up to the same standard as your children. It is a win win situation for you and your child as you observation skills improve.

Memory and Observtion Skills

To help you child remember numbers they can learn mnemonics. A simple one that is of great help to children is to use  the rhyme method. Each number is represented by am image that rhymes with the number. Here is a list of common words.

If these aren’t suitable you can change them for ones that suit you or you child. The image that first comes to mind is the best and one that can be made into funny pictures. I know men who use boobs for 8, I am sure you can work out why, all though that isn’t recommended for your child.

Once these ten words are known any number can be remembered. you use the relevant words and link them together with a funny story.

  1 - Bun
  2 - Shoe
  3 - Tree
  4 - Door
  5 - Hive
  6 - Bricks
  7 - Heaven 
  8 - Skate
  9 - Line
  10 - Hen

You can easily remember words using a similar system. If you have a list of words you can link them together using a funny story. You can then remember the funny story, whilst reciting the story in your head you will be able to recall the list you remembered.

The more you use these types of techniques and games observation skill increase and so does memory. You find that you can remember much more. Using your memory will improve it naturally. It has been shown people of all ages and abilities can improve there memory and observation skills through practice. If you want to know more about the subject. I would recommend one author called Tony Buzan. He has written various books on memory and other subjects, they all are very practical and useful for adults and have skills you can pass to your children.

Developing these skills will also be beneficial for children learning Interpretting Sign/Sign Awareness or as many people know it, Tracking.