Updated: Mar 25
Do you have a computer full of images and memories?
Do you have memory sticks which you don't remember the content of?
Once a memory has been created it will sit dormant in our heads until something sparks it. The trigger may come from a comment, a smell, a picture, a sound or an item.
I have mugs with pictures on which just make me smile when I pick them up because I can remember where they came from, or who gave them to me.
We used to be really good at getting our films developed and putting the pictures into photo albums, then we went digital!
We had to become more disciplined and intentional in our album making. We went from having 24 pics to look through, to hundreds and now, since the kids have devices too, thousands. Yes it's great to have the pictures, but they were not in a form I felt was accessible so we started to select key shots from the multitude taken, and creating online photo books. We use https://www.snapfish.co.nz and though we enjoy the finished product it does take time to create.
The act of sitting together on the sofa and looking through photo albums makes the time worth it. I much prefer flicking through a book than scrolling shots on a screen, but each to their own.
Anything is better than leaving them stored on memory cards which you can’t remember the content of!
The act of journaling can help to capture the moment in words and thoughts. Encouraging kids to write things can be a challenge but if they learn to see the value in what they have written by gaining a smile and a feeling of fulfilment when they read them again, then there has to be a hope that they will continue. I guess vlogging could be seen as the new way.
If you had asked I would originally have said I didn't really do this, but in fact I do! My books have been created because I do this in my own way, I don't make notes every day, but when things happen, which I want to remember, I note them down and they become stories in my books. There are definitely stories and conversational exchanges in there which I would otherwise have forgotten.
All my books are available as ebooks or paperbacks, through Amazon.
See the Publications tab on my website ruthtaylor.net for more information.
It can be hard to encourage your children to put down their phones, but if they do they will learn how little is actually needed to spark a memory. You don’t always need a photograph or video montage, all it may require is a smell, sound or a song!
Songs are much more memorable than just words alone, because they tap into more than one sense. You don’t believe me… Next time you hear a memorable song try and focus on what you are doing. You will probably find that you are tapping your toes, or nodding your head, or picturing what you were doing when you heard the music. This is what good memories do, they help create a picture, bring in movement and sharpen the senses.
Those of us, who have lived through an intense World event, can usually remember where we were and what we were doing when they happened. This is because our reaction to the event was much more intense, and memorable, than to the normal everyday news. When we feel an emotional connection to the story our senses react to the shock, they become heightened and take in more detail. This then remains in us as a much stronger memory.
If you are trying to improve your short term memory then I encourage you to try word association and mind maps to help you follow a thought through your head so you can bring it forward when you require it. I used to use the animal name game with groups of children to help me to learn their names. By adding an action my retention improved even more.
Creating your own family activities, ones you can revisit throughout the year, helps to strengthen memories. Young children crave consistency more than creativity. This is why they really enjoy reading the same book over and over. So as a family make up your own traditions, so they are special to you.
An earlier article talked about visiting local towns as a tourist during the holidays. My kids got to use a typewriter in KatiKati museum, squeeze through caves at Waitomo visitor centre and count colourful cows in Morrisville. Now when we drive through or near these places on our way to other destinations, we talk about what we did there, helping reinforce the memory.
The flip side to forming great memories is the formation of bad ones. For these you are looking to do the opposite of making them stronger. We will be looking at how to do that in a later post.
When my eldest was 11 she made a very profound observation. She was telling me about the life education teams visit to their school. She was disappointed as they had been told that Harold the giraffe mascot would not be visiting their class as they were too old.
“You are never too old to have fun though, right?” she asked me.
I don’t know about you but the reason I had kids was so I could have some more fun and play on all the parks without getting funny looks. So make a plan and follow it, take those photos, smell the aroma of the outdoors. We are never too old to make memories, or to revisit old ones.
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a) SHARE it with someone who would also like/benefit from it b) SHOW us you like it c) Connect with our community of intentional parents to get more tools and tactics All the very best Ruth Taylor www.ruthtaylor.net https://bit.ly/childishadult (Facebook group) #parentingmatterstoday #thechildishadult #RuthTaylor #parenting #parentingtips #memories