What do you remember most about childhood? Take a moment and reflect on that question.
I’d guess, like me, you’ll have flashes of memory, like seeing a scene from a movie. Perhaps your scene is sitting around your dining room table, eating dinner, or a family vacation. Perhaps you will recall something fun you did, like playing sports or hanging out with a special friend. You might remember the color of your mother’s drapes or the smell of the BBQ in the backyard. When I reflect on my childhood memories, I realize something very significant: my memories are more about feelings and senses, rather than specific things that I owned or had.
That’s how memory is wired. The part of the human brain that facilitates memory is triggered by emotion and the five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing). And this is a very important thing to know, Mamas, because it can help you feel better about your parenting and what you are giving (or not) to your kids.
Many parents begin the journey with the thought, I want to give my kids better than what I had. A wonderful goal! But if giving them things is the goal, your kids actually might be missing out. I think we already know this concept as parents—that time and experiences are what are children need more than fancy toys or clothes, or expensive vacations. It’s nice to know that neuroscience has validated biblical principles of parenting!
If giving your children things is the goal, then they actually might be missing out.
Summer is here, and we’ve all been through a long season of staying indoors. I’m sure that you and your kids can’t wait to get out of the house! Even better are the memories that you will create together. Here’s a few fun ideas:
- Take a walk to a destination together (e.g., a trail or special place), but instead of focusing on “getting there,” take your time. Ask your children to observe their environment through their senses. “What do you see? What does it smell like here? Can you find something that feels soft and something that feels slimy? If you could name the birds’ song, what name would you pick?”
- Play together, but focus on giving your children a lot of eye contact during the play. Eye contact evokes love and bonding emotions. For example, at the park, kick a soccer ball with your child but turn your body toward your child and look at their eyes/face when you are kicking the ball. This might feel awkward at first, but notice how much more your child pays attention to you!
- Be as silly as you can, and laugh. If goofiness doesn’t come naturally for you, try it for just a few minutes. Gradually it will feel more comfortable, and you will notice how your children seem more connected to you.
Trust me, your children will remember these moments with you. It will surprise you when, days or even years later, they comment, “Mom, remember the time when…?” Their recollection will be so clear—even if yours isn’t. Such is the power of creating memories with your children.
What will you do to create memories with your children this summer? Take a minute and share below!