What are your most signiﬁcant childhood memories?
Maybe the smell of Christmas pudding cooking? Or perhaps a fall off the school playground monkey bars? The touch of a particular soft toy or the smell of your mum’s favourite perfume are also common early memories. Researchers have shown that most people’s childhood experiences being to become long term memories at about three years old. As parents interested in child development, we are fascinated by the role memory plays in childhood and the impact we can have on shaping these long term memories.
Common First Memories
For me, the prickly beard, soft woollen cardigan, and old spice cologne of my grandfather are my ﬁrst sensory memories. For others, it is a favourite soft toy or a moment playing with friends. Perhaps it is the face of a parent or a cold winter’s morning. According to a recent survey, these are the most common childhood memories:
• A trip to the dentist
• Playing with friends
• A birthday party
• The ﬁrst day of school
• A holiday
• Being outside
• A tooth falling out
• An accident or injury
• A trip to the doctors
• Receiving a present
What do memories do?
So, why do we remember our ﬁrst trip to the dentist, or the smell of a loved one. According to research from Scientiﬁc American our childhood memories are of great importance to our adult existence. There are a few different reasons for this:
1. They form a moral compass
Our childhood memories help to secure our values. The memories our mind chooses to retain are often fundamental to our understanding of the world and our place in it. For example, a memory of guilt after stealing money from your mother’s purse is your brain forming moral standards for you to follow later in life. Memories of intense emotion are often some of our earliest. The joy of friendship, the companionship of a pet or toy, the sadness of death – these are formative to our values and morals. Harvard University conducted a series of studies in which participants were asked to make a moral decision, for example give money to charity. The participants who were asked to recall their most prominent childhood memories before the experiment were more likely to give generously.
2. They comfort
One of the main functions of childhood memories is to bring a sense of familiarity and comfort. Children often remember sentimental moments of family fun, friendship or occasions where they felt particularly treasured. These serve to comfort them later in life as their situations change. If you want to give your kids a great tool for resilience, give them great memories now.
3. They teach us lessons
Lastly, children often remember certain events because they are useful. When you remember the pain of a fall, your brain is reminding you to be careful when swinging on monkey-bars. When you remember the sadness your felt when you disappointed a parent, you are reminded of the consequences of your actions. Both emotionally and physically, our memories teach us lessons about the world around us.
Little Mummies is all about the creation of childhood memories. As kids play with our beautiful dolls, they form memories of freedom, fun and imagination. Here are our top tips for creating memorable times for your family:
• Make traditions. Be that birthday celebrations or road-trip songs, traditions help form lasting memories for kids.
• Document things using a scrapbook, a journal or a photo-album. Regularly showing children photos of past events is proven to help cement these memories long-term.
• Reﬂect on the day. Practicing memory skills such as sight recognition, re-call and reﬂection are practical ways to increase the amount of memories your child takes away from childhood.
• Take holidays. New environments are a common ﬁrst memory – go overseas, interstate or even explore your own backyard.
• Invest in good quality toys. The more sensory focussed, detailed and aesthetically pleasing a toy it – the more likely it is to remain in a child’s memory. Invest in beautifully made toys such as the Little Mummies dolls.