The Power of Memories: Building strong connections
Do you like to collect memories? Does it drive you mad how good our children’s memories can be?
In today’s fast-paced world, it Is easy to get caught up in the daily demands of life and lose sight of what truly matters to you and your family. As parents, caregivers, or mentors, forming meaningful connections with our children is crucial for their emotional well-being and overall development.
One powerful way to forge these bonds is by creating and cherishing shared memories. SPARK POP believes its platform of educational, inspiring, entertaining, and active experiences can play a significant role in building connections with children through memories, of which date from around 3 to 3.5 years of age.
In this blog, we will explore how SPARK POP is a fun tool to help cultivate these connections and the lasting impact it can have on children’s lives.
One of our favourite TEDx presentations by James Cowper proposes 3 principles for connecting with children – being playful, being present and being a coach. Here’s our take on how to bring these purposeful approaches to life.
Being playful makes everything feel a little brighter. But when you’re trying to survive ‘the juggle’ play is often the last thing on your mind. With more working mothers of under 15-year-olds than ever before, it’s no wonder we’re craving time and connection with our loved ones.
If you’re struggling to make that time, here are a few good reasons you as the adult should prioritise being playful.
1. Being playful boosts endorphins, decreasing stress and anxiety.
2. Fun and laughter creates a more positive and relaxed atmosphere.
So, what are you waiting for? Hit the reboot button to liven it up and live a little – experience the unexpected. Play together, try storytelling – that is making up a story together or taking turns, surprising them with a small treat or an adventure where you get involved. Get creative and try new things like visiting a new play centre or town, going on a scary ride, seeing a movie at the cinema, or playing dress-ups.
Do you want to be more present?
Is sitting down and playing video games or toys with your kids far from inspiring after a 50+ hour working week? Find something engaging and something that will hold both their interest and yours. Best of all, something that helps top up all your energy levels.
It may be going to appreciate a new exhibition at the art gallery, or something as thrilling as indoor skydiving, or solving puzzles and challenges in an escape room – but in essence means listening, asking questions, collaborating on a project, having shared experiences with little to no interruptions.
SPARK POP has discovered many interactive experiences that capture children’s attention and imagination thanks to the use of technology, cultural themes, or encounters with wildlife. Here are just a few to spark your creativity.
- Animal encounters such as Sea World’s Deep Water Adventure allow you to be in the water with the dolphins or penguins, immerse in the great outdoors through horse riding, or even do a whale watching tour.
- Sea Life Melbourne with its interactive wonder room that allows you to draw your own jellyfish and watch it float!
- Saltwater Eco Tours hosts tours aboard The Coral Coast, a heritage-listed vessel.
- Walking tours such as Melbourne Street Art Tour or Chocoholics Tour in Sydney are great for connecting with tweens and teens.
- Challenge yourselves by entering one of the many worlds at Red Lock Escape Rooms.
BEING A COACH
Every day we have opportunities to guide our children as they develop life and coping skills without judgement or lecturing. Outdoor adventures often create an equal environment which may mentally and physically test both the parent and the child. This setting presents circumstances that will offer a window into your child’s emotional and social skills. For example, imagine getting active together while climbing gym or connecting with nature as you kayak, boulder, abseil, wakeboard, climb high ropes and fly down the ziplines. If you want something before or after school or a weekend activity, you can try surfing, skating, trampolining, and bike riding.
In our experience, these will make you an equal participant which puts your family at ease and more likely to converse openly and honestly with you. From thought-provoking questions to collaborative activities, these activities will stimulate dialogue, deepening the understanding and bond between you and your child. As you observe them in action and through dialogue, you’ll have opportunities to put your coaching cap on to provide feedback, positive reinforcement and guidance in their own decision-making.
So, now that we’ve connected, how do we capture and preserve these moments as memories? Unlike other forms of play, activity or adventure allows the capture and preservation of memories in various forms. Whether through photo documentation, journaling, or recording audio/video, research supports that shared experiences can be revisited and relived, thereby contributing to our self-identity, the choices we make, and how we interact with others. By preserving these memories, children can cherish them for years to come and continue building upon them in the future.
Do you really want to make the memories stick? Then consider how you can create multiple pathways to increase the odds of your child remembering certain moments. Here are some of the ways.
- Provide running commentary.
Conversations about what is happening teach children how to encode and organise their memories whilst tying them to people and experiences.
- Chat about it afterwards.
Storytelling, once the moment has ended, is proven by science to establish supportive conditions in the brain for learning and remembering. Try to follow up with your child about something they are interested in to help hone in on a subject. Talk about it, come up with a story about the subject, and perhaps try and relate it to something they are learning about in school.
- Involve their senses
Do you still remember the smell of freshly mowed lawn? Or perhaps the biscuits your grandma baked? Judy Willis, a neurologist and former teacher recommends using as many sensory cues — olfactory, visual, auditory, tactile, etc. — as possible, which will lead to stronger memories being formed and retrieved.
Incorporating more experiences into the journey of forming connections with children amplifies the power of memories.
Through engaging and interactive experiences tailored to individual interests and needs, SPARK POP is here to help you cultivate meaningful conversations, capture and preserve memories, and strengthen connections beyond physical proximity.
Our vision is to support parents and carers as you create a tapestry of shared memories that foster emotional bonds, positive self-identity, effective communication, enhanced learning, and stronger family and social connections.
Are you ready to level up on building lasting connections that will shape and enrich the lives of your children for years to come? Make it POP with SPARK POP.