I attended a local vendor fair a few weeks ago. I offered a great booking promotion and a chance to win a gift certificate towards a vacation just for entering their email address. I was shocked with the amount of people who told me their kids were too young to travel, that they weren’t going anywhere for a while or the most common that they wanted to wait until their kids could remember.
I wanted to respond “why take them for a walk to the playground or to the children’s museum? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either.”
Travel is the same. It’s about the experience. Your children may not remember the details or the destinations but it will shape who they become. And they WILL remember the time you spent together. Sure, travel can be expensive but the learning opportunities and character shaping possibilities that it provides for young children in particular is more valuable and longer lasting than the latest toy.
When I first started traveling I used to pack my days full with activities. I would create almost to the minute itineraries. Through the years I realized that the best part of travel were the unexpected moments. The hours spent laughing while waiting for a delayed flight, the market you stumble onto when you get lost, the restaurant you try when you connect with a local. Now that I am a Mom I plan less in my day, let my daughter’s mood dictate whether the day will be a busy or relaxed one and settle into the little moments.
Our rule when we travel is that everybody must try one new thing on each day of our trip. That could be a food, an attraction or an activity. When you set this example of new things being fun and exciting your children will follow suite. A child who travels frequently is less likely to become a picky eater and you never know how a new activity may inspire them. A visit to the art museum may lead to a child who loves to draw, or a cooking class may make them more inclined to help with dinner at home.
All of those new things you have been trying leans right into this benefit. As you try new things your children become more curious as to what else is out there and what else they may be able to try. Time of flights or waiting in lines gives children an opportunity to learn to entertain themselves without the plethora of toys and screens. In turn they develop an incredible imagination and that imagination serves them as they explore new places. A visit to a castle ruin becomes a fairytale come to life, a port town a pirate adventure or the museum a scavenger hunt.
Of course this one is next because curiosity leads to learning! I know personally when I visit someplace new I become very curious about the who, why and what and when I get home I have to learn everything about it.
But don’t just take my word for it. A survey of almost 1,500 U.S.-based teachers, commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA), found that 74 percent of educators believed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.” A majority of teachers also believe that travel’s positive impact can extend to a student’s education and career.
How could it not? The best place to learn history is being where it actually happened. Science comes alive when you are up close to nature. Social Studies and Geography. Forgive me for being cliche but there really is no better classroom than the world.
That same study showed kids who traveled were more likely to have higher independence, self-esteem, confidence, adaptability and sensitivity. They were also more likely to be more outgoing and have better self-expression than kids who stayed at home.
Well… duh! Of course kids who travel frequently are more flexible. Travel allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits. If forks aren’t available you can be sure your kid will learn to use chopsticks. If they are tired and your train is delayed they will learn to sleep in the stroller.
All of those other benefits are great for you and who your kid will become but I truly believe we can change the world by traveling with our young children. You can learn about other people, you can learn about other cultures but until you really experience it you don’t have that deep understanding. Teaching your children that even though people may look different from the outside, we are all the same.
That study I talked about earlier concluded that children who traveled to experience cultures other than their own have increased tolerance and respectfulness. If every child develops the same understanding and grows up with not only an acceptance but appreciation for other people’s trials, cultures and views can’t you just see what a wonderful place the world would be?
Ok… I probably should have ended on making the world a better place for dramatic effect, but the reason I do what I do is to promote time together as a family. There is just something special about traveling together. No matter what you do at home, travel as a family creates a unique time and space for bonding that you just can’t get anywhere else. Strip away the tangles and pressures of everyday life and you suddenly find yourself able to appreciate one another more fully and live life more purposefully and connect with each other more deeply. You now have shared experiences that your children will talk about for years to come. Even if they don’t remember it the times you shared together, embarrassing moments they may have had, stressful situations that have since become amusing will inadvertently become the stories you tell at their graduation party.
I am not saying that traveling with kids is going to be easy. As parents, we need to reassess how we travel and adjust our expectations. We can’t expect everything to go as we planned. We have to remember that the unplanned moments can be the best and the little challenges are helping shape who our children will become. So please don’t wait. Take every opportunity you can to explore the world together.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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