photo: Courtney Blacher
I try to keep my daughter on a schedule and routine that she’s used to because, without a schedule, things get a little crazy around here. Our normal schedule works great for day-to-day things but during the summer I think it’s important to mix things up a little bit. The best (and most fun) way to do this is to introduce your kids to travel.
I started traveling with my daughter pretty consistently (even if it was just a weekend staycation, which she actually likes most) about a year ago. We average about one trip per month during the school year however during the summer, all bets are off and we’re jet setting as much as possible.
If you’ve thought about introducing your kids to travel but are still on the fence about it, here are some of my top reasons why you should encourage your kids to travel, no matter how young they are.
Traveling is a great way to give your kids the chance to experience an adventure. No matter where they travel to, your kids will love discovering their adventures along the way. They will venture outside of their comfort zone, experience new and exciting things that they wouldn’t get the chance to do at home. These adventures will quickly become something your kids look forward to doing each time they travel.
Traveling is also a great way to foster compassion in your kids. When kids travel, they get the chance to see different socioeconomic backgrounds, especially if they travel to foreign countries. Your kids will see firsthand that not everyone is as blessed as they are, giving them an appreciation for what they have and compassion towards those less fortunate.
No matter where your kids travel, you can expect the journey to be educational. Your kids will get the chance to experience different cultures and learn about the area’s history, giving them a broader and more educated view of the world.
If you’ve ever traveled, you know that plenty can go wrong. When this happens, you need to be flexible and find a solution to the problem. That’s why traveling is so valuable of an experience for your kids. They will learn to be flexible when something happens outside of their control. This helps them learn to roll with the punches, so to speak, an important skill to have in life.
The memories that your kids make during their travels will be something that sticks with them throughout life. When they look back on their childhood, they’ll remember these trips with fondness. They won’t remember the shiny new toy they got for their birthday or the toy that was so hot last Christmas every kid had to have it (Who remembers that Hatchimal)? They will, however, remember all the adventures they had when they traveled. No matter if your family travels together or if your kids travel alone or with friends, your kids will remember all that they experienced. These memories will be lasting ones.
You want your kids to be independent, which is why traveling is such a valuable experience for kids. Traveling will cultivate your kid’s sense of independence, teaching them how to do things on their own. To help get them started, allow them to help research and plan your next vacation. Start off with small tasks like researching the history of a location, the food or the language.
As they get older give them more responsibilities like researching the currency or mapping out how to get from the airport to the hotel. By the time they are 7, they should be able to do enough research (thanks to the Google and Youtube) to be able to point out the country on a map, tell you what language they speak in that country, what currency they use, and be able to say “hello”, “I need help” and “thank you” in that countries language.
8. Self Discovery
Your kids will be amazed at what they discover about the world around them, as well as what they learn about themselves during their travels. Your kids will discover what interests them, including what their favorite places to go are and what foods they like to eat. This type of self-discovery is important for kids to develop since it will give them a confidence in who they are and what type of person they want to be.
Travel is what helped me discover just how much my daughter loves history. Every time we would go somewhere new, she would spend hours researching the history of that state or country. She can spend hours in a museum and she loves talking to locals.
Traveling is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your kids. Your kids will learn more about who they are, as well as develop skills and characteristics that they’ll use throughout their lives.