Friday, January 30, 2015

Tying the emotions to the memory

Right now, my son remembers lots of stuff. He remembers what we did for his birthday last year and he remembers being in his Nana's wedding when he was two. He remembers games we used to play and trips we've been on. But, he doesn't remember what he had for lunch at school.

That's probably because my son doesn't have any emotional involvement with his lunch.

It will be several years before my son starts losing his memories, and it will be even longer before we figure out what his first memory will become. But the research shows that it will probably be tied to emotion. Making our memories emotionally meaningful in some way, means that we will hold onto them longer.

Scientists are currently using this information to help patients with dementia, but I think it could easily be applied to children as well. Here are a few ways to help your children tie their emotions to their memories.
  1. Talk about them. Ask them how they felt about an event or an activity in their lives.
  2. Look at pictures. The visual images help bolster the connections.
  3. Share your own emotions. Sometimes children have a hard time putting the right names to how they feel, so give them the vocabulary to help them label what they feel.
What do you do with your children to help them hold onto their memories? Share your tips in the comments.

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