| Peter Cook
The smell of rain
You know what we are talking about: You walk past a room, and a smell hits you. Perhaps it’s a specific perfume or the fragrance of freshly baked bread. Maybe it is the smell of rain on tar or of jasmine in the early evening. The scent brings back fond memories of a different time and era– sometimes even with strong emotions.
A smell can change your attitude and lift your mood. No wonder real estate agents bake croissants in show houses before they open it for viewing!
The science behind it all
Scientists have now discovered a connection between your senses, memories, and how you felt a long time ago. Moreover, there is a link between memories and behavior – in such a way that researchers now say that kids with happy childhood memories enjoy learning and are less likely to turn to substance abuse.
Seize each day!
Let’s put it simply: if your teenager has strong memories of happy childhood events, they are less likely to become addicted to alcohol and drugs and more likely to have good grades.
It, therefore, makes sense to make more memories with your children. Children remember much more than we realize, so use every opportunity to let them feel, smell, touch, and see how much you love them.
It is not rocket science.
Children love doing things together.
Cook together or make music in an impromptu family band. Cheer for a baseball team or go camping. Volunteer for a cause or play board games. Sit outside on a lovely spring evening. All of these things can lead to fond memories and happy childhoods.
Here’s how to do it
- Talk about experiences.‘How did you feel when the dolphin swam up to you? Can you remember how excited Grandpa looked?’ Talking about what happened can help engage the young mind and establish the event in the child’s long-term memory.
- Try to involve all five senses. For example, Gran’s chocolate chip cookies smell great but look at how big and round they are. And the taste, good heavens! The more senses, the more memories.
- More pathways for memories. At the beach, build a sandcastle, dance around, draw a picture in the wet sand, and bury Dad up to his neck. The more you do, the more there are to remember.
At Largest Heart, we are only too aware of the increased use of opioids and alcohol among the youth in the US. Look at these risk factors that the Centre for Decease Control and Prevention (the CDC) lists on their website:
- A family history of substance abuse and parents who enable teens to drink
- Absent parents and inadequate monitoring
- A lack of connectedness to school
- Childhood sexual abuse
People are not making memories with their kids anymore.
As a result, more than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2019. In addition, more than 800,000 young people reported that they binge drink at least five days per month.
According to the CDC, protective factors include family support and parent engagement, parental monitoring, and the disapproval of substance use.
This, to us, sounds like people who made the memories!
It is the memories of togetherness, fun, and happy times that can help your child face tomorrow. Make creative memories now so that those precious kids won’t need addictive substances to cope in the future.