ABSTRACT: Children struggle to pay attention relative to adults, but how does this affect what they learn and remember? And are there any benefits to attentional lapses? Here, I use a recently developed approach to measure lapses in attention and test how they affect learning and memory in each moment. I will first demonstrate how attention fluctuates differently in children and adults. I then show that momentary lapses in attention have varying consequences depending on what we are trying to encode and recall. Last, I provide preliminary evidence that children’s ability to pay attention explains why they encode and recall differently than adults. Together, these findings inform theories on how attention and memory interact and why children learn differently than adults.