Memory experts weigh in on whether that big trip with your toddler is worth it
“You know he’s not going to remember any of it, right?” It wasn’t the reply I expected when I recently told a (happily child-free) friend I’d be taking my 4-year-old son on his first African safari.
But she did have a point.
The science checks out: The consensus among neuroscientists, psychologists and child development experts is that most children start retaining accessible memories around 4 years of age, but it might take longer in some cases.
“Since there’s a large range for when long-term memories begin and persist, it’s hard to say definitively when the right time is for a bucket-list trip for any given family,” says Rebecca Weksner, a Massachusetts-based psychologist specializing in pediatrics and mother of three young children. “One child may recall it since the emotional experience may have been so strong as to create a lasting memory trace, while for another it may not.”