Happy childhood memories or information overload?
How can we help our children remember the good, simple things?
Of course, I have a million memories of my childhood -- standing in the sunshine outside the hairdressers holding my mum’s hand, the day my sister’s guinea pig died, the day my dad fell down a seaside cliff path while giving me a piggy back, and some tougher ones involving family arguments.
My eldest is now five and my youngest three. Although I sincerely hope they won’t remember the trauma of their first experience of a car wash (the less said about that the better), I wonder what events and influences in their short lives will have already made a significant enough impression to stay with them forever.
It is natural for every parent to want to impress upon their children those fabulous moments in our lives when everything seems to go right -- the perfect picnic on a beautiful, lazy summer’s day, a magical walk through the woods, snowy Christmas Eves, first visit from the tooth fairy or the best birthday party ever.
But will they really retain the memories we hope they will, or and this really worries me, in the digital era our children are growing up in, will their first memory be of a Disney movie in 3D?
Will it be of their favourite episode of Thomas the Tank Engine which they have watched over and over again? Will their earliest memory be watching Scooby Doo on a Saturday morning or beating their dad on the Wii Mario Kart? Are our children’s memory banks now so cluttered with images from such modern influences that the simple, quieter, more meaningful moments in their lives will be pushed to one side?
A head full of football?
And if we do want to impress a particularly positive experience upon our children, is there a clever technique to do this? I know of parents who talk with their child about their day at bedtime and ask them to think about the thing they enjoyed the most. This helps the child to make sense of their day and reinforce their positive memories of it. I like that idea and really try to do this – honestly. But, you know, sometimes, well, I just don’t.
My eldest remembers things by having a football stadium in his head (bear with me). Each of the seats and all of the pitch has a place to store a memory. It works so well for him that I’m encouraging him to put special memories into his stadium too. These include the time he got his first medal and the La Rochelle aquarium he loved so much on a recent holiday. I live in hope that his football stadium is packed to the rafters with wonderful, special, meaningful memories by the time he reaches my age.
What do you think? Do you do anything specific to help form positive memories and does the issue of ‘information overload’ worry you too?
More from Hazel
Hazel's recently published ebook 'Hot Cross Mum - Bitesize Slices of Motherhood' is available through the Amazon Kindle store. This is a humorous, warm and refreshingly honest account of a year in the life of a mother following redundancy. Written in short, diary-entry format, we follow her hilarious struggle to adjust from a world of deadlines and boardrooms to one of washing lines and bathrooms. This book is sure to resonate with any parent of young children and is based on Hazel's award-winning blog of the same name.
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