Psychologist Reveals the 5 Core Memories Children Will Cherish


We never know what our kids will remember from their childhood. What core memories will create different facets of their personality?  Or the ones they never let us forget, especially when we say ‘no’ to something.

Positive childhood experiences and childhood trauma both leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes, which can be passed on to future generations.

How do we know we’re doing the right thing? How much is too much? Carol Kim, a mother of three and family therapist has revealed the top five things that create core memories in our kids, and they might not be what you think.

young girl at christmas tree
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Five Core Memories Your Kids Will Remember

If you go online, chances are you’ll find someone posting about creating core memories with their children. These posts are usually lavish parties, travel experiences, or extravagant holiday moments. And I don’t know about you, but momfluencers always leave me feeling like I haven’t done enough with or for my kids.

We don’t always have the money to give our kids the world. And according to psychologists, we don’t need to. Core memories are not something we can manufacture or produce.

1. Quality Time

Sometimes it’s the simplest thing. It’s not about the money you spend or the places you go. It’s about the moments that seem small but aren’t. When my kids were young, every second Saturday, we would take the public bus to the library and then walk to the supermarket for snacks and drinks. We’d catch the bus home with our bags of books, and all sit around the kitchen table together.

The simple, yet effective things like reading books together, cooking together, family game nights, or having a good conversation are so effective at showing your kids you are present with them.

2. Being In Their Corner

Encouraging them and showing up are so important to their development. Being their cheerleader, even when it embarrasses them, in good times and bad can be a great motivator and source of comfort. Knowing their parents have their back takes so much pressure off their shoulders and helps them to believe in themselves in any situation from sitting an exam to going on a first date to their first game of a new sport.

It doesn’t have to be grand overtures. Just a “you got this” at the right time, makes such a difference.

3. Family Traditions

Some people refer to family traditions as following the rules of dead relatives. Some people find comfort in them. Love them or hate them, the things we repeat regularly have a big impact on our little ones.

My Nan started a Christmas tradition when I was young where we got to open one present on Christmas Eve. Not only did it stop us from trying to peek at our gifts, but it gave us something to look forward to. It’s become something I’ve carried on with my kids, and hope to do with my grandkids.

Fun family traditions, and even the ones we roll our eyes at, help our kids feel part of something. They become part of their identity and make them feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Young girl receiving xmas gift
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4. Giving Back

Remember when RAOKs (random acts of kindness) were all over social media? YouTubers would post videos of them ‘helping’ those less fortunate for views, suspended coffees and meals were all the rage, and ‘Pay It Forward’ made us all cry a full box of tissues.

Well, it turns out that doing acts of service for others shows our kids the importance of kindness. The feeling of pride they get from helping others or watching us be selfless is something that stays with them as they grow, even if they don’t realise it.

I remember one afternoon my son and I were heading home on the bus. We stopped at an older gentleman’s house, and he had about half a dozen heavy-ish bags of groceries. Without being asked, my lanky, rake of a ten-year-old jumped up off his seat and went to the man and carried all his bags to his doorstep for him. When he got back on the bus, the bus driver shook his hand, and the seven other people applauded him (much to his embarrassment). And now, twelve years later, he’s still the first to offer to help others.

5. Comfort in Troubled Times

This one is the most important, in my opinion, because it’s when they need us the most. Life is not without its struggles, even for our kids. Schoolyard bullies, complicated homework, and heartbreak are just some of the things our kids go through.

Knowing we are a safe place for them to come to when life gets rough makes them feel so secure and supported. It builds emotional security and gives them strength when they need it the most. They get scared and sometimes we get scared for them. But ‘fake it until you make it’ is a philosophy I use a lot. I don’t let them see my fear so they can find the courage to do things they might not think they can.

Boy crying over mother's shoulder
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Building core memories with our kids usually happens organically when we take the time to be present with them. There’s no perfect way to do it and sometimes it’s challenging.

Things like being a solo parent, having childhood trauma, not having examples or anyone to teach us the skills, or having mental health issues can create barriers within ourselves that affect our ability to put these ideas into action.

Knowing when and how to ask for help is another invaluable lesson for our kids. And there’s no shame in needing help. We’re all works in progress even on our best days.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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