Spending time with kids today gives them childhood memories that they’ll treasure tomorrow. Even if they don’t remember exact details, they’ll never forget the way they felt. Read on for some of the best memories to make, along with some of my favorite inspirational childhood quotes.
Childhood Memories Your Kids Will Treasure Forever
No matter how old we get, there are some amazing childhood memories that never fade. Sure, the details may get a little blurred, but the way we felt at the time still fills us with warmth and happiness.
If we want our kids to have those same wonderful memories as adults, we need to spend time making them today. That’s just logic, right? After all, you can’t have memories of things you never did! If you need some ideas or inspiration, just keep reading. Below are some memories I think every child deserves to have.
1. The joy and excitement of seeing new places
It drives me nuts when people say things like, “Why bother taking kids on vacation? It’s not like they’ll remember it!” Sure, they may not recall every detail. Heck, they may not even remember ANY details, depending on how old they are. I guarantee you, though, that they’ll remember how it felt to see those new places and to spend time with you.
I know that’s true because I still remember how I felt during my own childhood travels. You don’t have to take expensive trips, either. Even a day spent together on a new hiking trail or exploring new places in your own town can become a fond travel memory. Plus don’t forget, studies show that family vacations actually make kids smarter!
2. The sound of your voice as you read to them
Like traveling, kids may not remember the exact books that you read to them (even if it’s one they asked for every single night for a year). But they’ll always remember the time you took to make the voices, the way your voice rose and fell, and how safe they felt in your arms or on your lap as you took them on new literary adventures.
Grab a few of your own favorite childhood books and share them with your kids. You’ll not only help them make amazing memories, but you’ll relive your own as well. Hopefully, your kids will do the same for their children. In that way, one simple book can connect generations across time and space. Isn’t that so neat?
3. A special song that always reminds them of you
Studies show that listening to music can boost your memory, but I don’t need science to tell me that. Sometimes, a song will come on in a movie, a store, or even just in my head and all these wonderful childhood memories just start playing in my mind.
I want my kids to have that, too. One day decades from now, I want them to hear a song and immediately think, “mom.” The thing is, you can’t just pick a song and make it into a memory. So the best way to give your kids this one is to just listen to a lot of music! Trust me, something will stick. 😀
“Music is powerful; it transforms emotions and experiences into something tangible. Every time you hear a familiar song, the feelings from it bubble to the surface, bringing back memories you might have otherwise forgotten.” — Michelle Madow
4. A day full of surprises
Every child deserves to feel surprised (in a good way) at least once in their young lives. I’m not talking about surprising them with things, either. I’m talking totally unexpected moments that will live on in their memories forever.
For example, surprising them by picking them up from school early to spend an afternoon playing hooky together. Or telling them that you’re taking them somewhere special but not telling them where. Or even just surprising them by waking them up with their favorite breakfast in bed and a day binge-watching their favorite series together on the couch.
It doesn’t have to be something grand and expensive. It just needs to be unexpected.
5. Moments filled with laughter and silliness
Our kids are growing up in a world filled with so many serious issues and problems. I don’t know if it’s actually worse than when we were kids or if it just feels that way because they have access to more information than we did (most of us didn’t have the internet).
Either way, though, I think it’s more important than ever to just give our kids a day filled with laughter, joy, and silliness. Just happy little moments that they can hold onto no matter what happens in the future.
6. The first time they saw the ocean
There’s something so magical about seeing the ocean for the first time. I live right near the beach, and we go all of the time, but I still remember watching each of my kids discover the joy of feeling sand between their toes! They may not remember exactly what that moment was like since they were so young. But I like to think that they’ll recall the feeling.
My friend grew up in the north but took a trip to the beach when she was three. She says to this day she remembers that feeling. She sees the beach and the sand in her mind, just a quick image and an amazing feeling of joy. She’s not even sure if the image in her mind is of that day, but it still connects her to that memory, nonetheless.
7. Spending time with their grandparents
I’ve always said that raising kids near their grandparents is one of the best gifts you can give them. If you can’t live close to them, though, there are so many other ways to give kids fond childhood memories of grandma and grandpa. Phone calls, visits, handwritten letters, video chats…do whatever you can to give them that connection.
If your parents are gone before your kids are born, there are other ways to help your kids connect to them and create lasting memories. Sharing your own stories and pictures is one easy way. Another great idea: give your kids one of your own childhood memories recreating a special day that you had with your parents.
8. The smell of their favorite meal cooking on the stove
Countless studies show that our memories are often tied to our sense of smell. One study from Harvard takes it a step farther, explaining that scents don’t just invoke memories but emotions as well.
Like music, we don’t really need science to tell us that, though. Our nose reminds us every time we catch the aroma of our favorite childhood meal cooking in our own ovens. We’re instantly transported back in time. I want my kids to have that same experience when they grow up so that even when I’m gone, that aroma will help them feel connected to me.
9. Staying up past bedtime for something special
Remember when we were little and didn’t have streaming services or DVRs and we could only watch a movie when it actually aired on TV? There was something so magical and exciting about being allowed to stay up late to see it, wasn’t there? Everyone I talk to remembers watching The Wizard of Oz once a year (I think it was usually in November).
Today, kids can access pretty much every movie anytime and anywhere. So, staying up late watching one doesn’t really hold the same appeal, I guess. Still, there are ways to give your child the same sense of magic and excitement.
For example, if your kids love stargazing, you can check astronomy calendars for once-in-a-lifetime events that happen late at night. There’s a really neat app called Sky Guide that tells you what’s happening in the sky near you. TimeandDate.com is another good one.
10. The simple joy of quiet, everyday moments
Last, but so very far from least, don’t discount the everyday moments. You don’t have to spend a lot of money (or any, really) or go on grand adventures every week to make sure your kids remember you decades from now. You just have to be there for them and let them know how much they matter.
As the quote above says, it really is the little moments that make the biggest childhood memories. Make spending time with your kids a top priority. Eat dinner together as often as possible. Help them discover new passions and be their biggest cheerleader in everything they do. Most important of all, laugh often and love each other fiercely.