Memory and Storytelling

Month 18
Month 20
Month 22

Last Month's Wow:

The First Hints of Tantrums

Tantrums are a (totally normal) sign of frustration; baby is developing language but not enough to communicate their emotions. Dramatic bouts of yelling, falling on the ground, or crying out of fear can be easily triggered and they need your support to learn how to recover.

The Wow of Now:

Memory and Storytelling

As your baby’s stream becomes a river of words, there are new opportunities to deepen understanding through story-telling. Building their sense of narrative creates a sense of identity, possibility, and adventure.

The Wow Ahead:

Setting Limits

Beware the tides of frustration converging around one little word: “NO.” It’s impossible to be around a curious toddler and avoid saying it. So, it should come as no surprise that they will inevitably discover the power of saying “no” themselves.

The Wow

Baby’s improving memory is a testament to the development of the connections between two important parts of the brain: the Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex. Remember: it’s all about connections! Neural pathways are reinforced through story-telling (an art as old as time) as babies work out how to organize all the information coming at them. Because neural connections remain relatively immature, and language is limited to two-word phrases, baby is not yet able to make the kind of memories that last into adulthood. However, they are constantly working to improve, and early memories are important for caregivers to recognize and celebrate accordingly. Using repetition, visualization, and increasingly elaborate storytelling can lay the foundation for healthy memory development, which is critical for healthy cognitive skills as they get older.

The How

  1. 1


     of 1

    Lasting memory has been shown to develop earlier among cultures where storytelling is central to tradition. The way caregivers talk about the past plays a significant role in helping baby learn to make memories. Elaborate storytelling—a detailed, step-by-step narrative of past events involving baby—has been shown to improve baby’s memory retention well into adolescence. That’s because they are re-experiencing the event while being told about it and reinforcing connections between their memory and the retelling.

    During an activity, briefly narrate what’s happening: “We’re at the park! See all the trees?” Then on the way home, retell the story, “You went to the park and saw so many trees!” And that night before bed, retell it again to reinforce the memory. Tell them a story about their past, their birth, trips, family events, birthday parties, etc. Use rich detail and emotion to make the story come to life in baby’s brain.

    Ask “Wh” questions—who, what, where, when—and expand upon what they say. Stay consistent and remember that eventually they’ll learn to keep these memories organized for a long, long time.


    Stories open up a child’s imagination, help build a sense of sequence (beginning, middle, end), and develop language structure (noun-verb-noun). These are the keys to higher cognitive functions such as problem solving, predicting, and inference.

  2. 2

    Replay the Day

    Routine: Bedtime
     of 2

    In the evening, during a bubble bath with Our Body Wash System or a gentle massage with Our Moisturizing Cream, talk to baby about baby’s day:

    What happened when they woke up?
    Who did they see?
    What’s the plan for tomorrow?

    Ask simple questions and discuss plans together:

    What worked and what didn’t?
    What was hard and what was easy?
    What may be different tomorrow?

    Reviewing the events of the day, and circling back to what you noticed or did together, is how they learn to organize memory and to develop a sense of time.


    By reviewing information at night, you allow baby’s healthy sleep rhythms to promote memory consolidation.

  3. 3

    Mother Nature Make Believe

    Routine: Play Time
     of 3

    Develop your baby's inner yogi and imitate nature. First, show your baby how to stand high and firm like a tree. Then pretend the wind is blowing and have your child twist or bow their body, with the feet firmly planted in place. Next, ask your child to pretend she is a four-legged animal (pick a favorite) and walk like the animal. End this exercise by asking your child to be her most favorite thing in nature — an animal, a flower, the ocean, and let them create the pose.


    This exercise can help your toddler become more self-aware and confident as they are strengthening their motor-coordination alongside higher level skills such as planning, self-regulation, and creativity, which are linked with social-emotional intelligence in adulthood.

Support for You

While it’s easy to tell caregivers to read with baby every day, it can be hard for them to actually find the time. We get it and can relate. So, consider baking reading into an existing routine, like bedtime or bathtime entertainment, or snuggle time in the morning, a distraction while waiting at the bus stop…you get the idea.

Reading is important for many reasons, including connection with you—and should be at a time that works for you both. It may not be perfect, but can become something you both look forward to. Reading together unlocks baby’s vocabulary, imagination, and connection to storytelling. Being read to and participating in the reading by pointing, shouting out words, turning the pages, or making sounds, has a tremendous impact on their powers of attention, and later, the interest in reading and academic skills.

There is comfort and security in routine; reading the same story over and over is a form of just that. Books that resemble their lives (in cities, on farms, with children or pets), help them to make sense of the world around them, and fortifies the connection between what they see and hear.

Types of books to try:

Books that promote object labeling, like types of trucks or all the things that go with the beach.

Books that show children doing familiar things, like sleeping, eating, and going to school so you can make connections to what baby has seen or done in their own environment. Ex: “Does your bed look like that?

Lift-The-Flap books about any topic so you can ask questions beyond the page. Ex: “What would you do next?”

Animal books where they can imitate sounds while they read.

Books that rhyme (or based on nursery rhymes you can sing).

Books showing a variety of feelings and emotions so you can label emotions, ex: “She looks sad without her puppy.”

Be aware that while having these books on repeat may be boring to you, it’s so good for them. Baby is listening and learning through your storytelling, on and off the page.

Let's Check on the Basics

Poop Icon


Is baby eating?
Poop Icon


Is baby sleeping?
Poop Icon


Is baby pooping?

Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
Contact us for support resources!

Previous Month Next Month