Shoes from your childhood. A favorite outfit. A playground best friend. What memories will your child retain and which one will be a distant memory? A recent article on Babble.com delves into why certain memories stick and why some don’t:
When Casey told her son Will that the Weisses were coming over for dinner that night, his response took her by surprise: “Don’t forget the strawberry cupcakes.” Three-year-old Will was recalling that the Weiss’ son liked the cupcakes Casey had served at a dinner party eight months earlier, when he was only two. As precocious as his memory might seem, though, by the time Will reaches school age, the strawberry cupcakes will be gone, along with his recollections of most, if not all, of his first three years.
Psychologists refer to this as “childhood amnesia.” But it only applies to certain kinds of memory — kids retain plenty of information from the early years. If Will’s dad teaches him to throw a baseball, he may remember how for the rest of his life. Not only that, but the emotional memories of childhood have a lasting impact. Long after the image of the cupcakes has faded, Will might be left with warm feelings towards sweets and social gatherings. Researchers now know this is because the brain doesn’t have just one record button. By studying healthy kids as well as adults who have lost certain kinds of memory completely, psychologists have come a long way in explaining how early childhood can be so formative long after our memories of these years have completely vanished.
What do you remember most about your childhood? What do you hope your child remembers?