Do you ever wonder what memories your kids will have of their childhood?
Will they remember the big expensive family holiday?
Will they remember the lovingly prepared meals?
Will they remember you nagging them to clean their room?
Will they remember a stressed out, exhausted mum who gave them her all?
I know my memories from childhood are pretty random. There are some significant things I can barely remember but there are many little things that I can recall as clearly as if it were yesterday.
Research on how memories work tells us that emotion plays a big part in our long-term memory (you can read some interesting stuff on how the brain encodes memories here).
This is why we remember the really good stuff and the really bad stuff but the neutral stuff is harder to retrieve. The movie Inside Out depicts how emotions are linked to memories and shows how key memories are formed this way – yes it’s a kids’ movie but it is actually pretty accurate!
Talking to ParentTV about making memories with your kids, parenting and resilience expert Maggie Dent stresses the importance of anchoring those good memories to help outweigh any bad ones. She suggests family rituals as an easy and effective way to make memories that matter with your children.
These rituals don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but it is about prioritising special moments and having fun with your kids. When we have fun our feel good endorphins get pumping and these help create the neural pathways for long lasting happy memories.
As parents we can get so caught up in the day to day that we forget that the day to day is actually what life is all about. We need to stop and smell the roses (or pizza) on a regular basis. Kids are experts at having fun so we adults should really take a leaf out of their book!
Lightening up and prioritising making special moments with your children doesn’t need to be onerous or expensive. Think of things like:
- Taco Tuesday (make your own – its more fun that way!)
- Movie night
- Family game night
- Ice-cream after sports training (or a healthier option!)
- Family walk after dinner
For my family its things like Friday afternoon backyard cricket and taking the dog for a swim at the beach on a weekend. The kids love that I get involved and stop doing “mum stuff” for a while to simply enjoy time with them.
Kids don’t need expensive outings and fancy holidays to make happy memories. They just need to have a little fun with us to make lifelong memories that matter.
If you’d like to see Maggie Dent’s full interview about having fun and making memories with kids, as well as other great parenting tips from experts, you can subscribe to ParentTV here.