Research on observer rating of memory in children is examined in relation to the potential to develop screening instruments to improve efficiency in memory assessment, to shed light on the area of everyday memory in children, and to develop observer rating to the point where it may substitute for objective assessment. Several scales including the Parent Memory Questionnaire, the Children's Memory Questionnaire, the Observer Memory Questionnaire - Parent Form and the Working Memory Rating Scale are reviewed. Only the Working Memory Rating Scale has been published. Some of the other scales have good internal consistency and test-retest reliability but none have proven to be effective screening instruments and none can yet be recommended for clinical application. Relationships with objective test results have been at best modest, an issue that requires more detailed analysis if such instruments are to become effective screeners or even substitutes for objective assessment. Further observer rating research will shed light on everyday memory in children including its relationship to objective assessment and its place in models of memory. It remains to be established whether observer ratings add unique information to memory assessment or whether they can become a reliable, cost-effective substitute for objective assessment.