Anyone who's ever asked their toddler where they put their shoes probably knows that they aren't exactly known for their memories. However, if you have an important occasion coming up, like a wedding or a family vacation, it's natural to wonder if there are ways to help your toddler remember special moments. Like, is it possible to create memories that last a lifetime with your child, even when they are as young as 1- or 2-years-old? Or are better off waiting to take a family trip when they are old enough to actually remember it?
It turns out, there are things you can do to absolutely help boost your child's memory, to a point. According to a study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, children suffer from a condition called childhood amnesia, or the inability to form memories as children that last until adulthood, until they reach the age of 3. But this age might not be set in stone. As psychologist Nora Newcombe told Fatherly.com, kids are better able to remember feelings than events. So, if you want to help your toddler retain memories of a specific time or place, it might be best to remind them how it made them feel.
Other memory-boosters include repetition, so if you can repeat the experience year after year or look at pictures from your trip, it can help your toddler form childhood memories that lost well into adulthood. So with that in mind, here are a few ways to help your little one remember all the fun you've been having:
Tell Stories About It
As Slate reported, young kids are way more likely to remember events that their parents continue to tell them about. Turns out, remembering a story is way easier than remembering a person, place, or thing. So if you want your child to continue to remember an event long after it happens, the key might be telling them about it in narrative form, or even better, asking them to tell you a story about it.
Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
While it's easier said than done, especially on a vacation or trip, one study published in the Journal of Sleep Research showed that getting enough sleep can actually help both children and adults form memories.
Wait Until They Are Older
According to one study published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, while children start to develop the ability to recall specific events at age 3, they are way better at remembering childhood events in the future that happen after age 4. So if you are planning a special trip to Disney World, you might be better off taking your older preschooler than your toddler, especially if you want them to be able to remember the trip as they age.