I can clearly remember my kid's first words, first step, and a hundred other firsts he has experienced in such a short amount of time. But I often wonder if he'll remember any of these magical events himself. Personally, I hope he remembers our bedtime snuggles and trips to the pumpkin patch. Then again, I wouldn't be upset if he forgets the time I swore at the person who cut me off in traffic. So, will my toddler remember their early years, and how will I know?
Fortunately, there are a few signs your toddler is starting to hold onto memories, and things you can do to help make those memories last. According to a July 2018 study published in the journal Psychological Science Journal, many memories we have before age 3 are actually fictitious. In other words, our brain combines information from photographs with stories people tell us about our childhood in order to create "memories" that actually aren't real. According to researchers at Emory University, a condition called childhood amnesia prevents youngsters from forming memories as children that last until adulthood.
Young children are way more likely to remember how something made them feel instead of specific details, though (like where or when something happened), according to Carole Peterson. This is especially true if a memory elicited a particularly strong emotion, like joy or fear. Another sure sign of memories being made, according to researchers at Emory University, is your child recalling details in a narrative. If they can tell you about an event in story form, their brains have created context for a memory, which can act like a net and catch it before it drifts away. So with all that in mind, here are some signs your toddler will remember the memories you're making right now, forever: