Everyday we're asked an abundance of questions on what it's like to travel with kids. The first thought many parents have when it comes to traveling with their kids is the extra work it involves, and of course the potential for problems and uncomfortable situations along the way (yes we've had our fair share!!)
However, from our own experience we can say without the slightest hesitation that the benefits far outweigh any issues that may arise. So, we really wanted to share seven excellent reasons to take your kids with you when traveling.
Childhood lasts for only a few years (we really can't believe how quickly it passes!) and before you know it, your kids are grown up and have their own families. This is why you need to keep in mind that traveling provides a unique opportunity to create fun, exciting and heartwarming memories that can last a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if the vacation is to an exotic destination or just to another town a ways down the road. The simple act of getting away from the normal family routine is an adventure unto itself and can breathe fresh energy into your daily life as a family.
When it comes to exposure to other cultures, languages and accents, it's such a shame that most children gain very little (if any) new experiences here, especially during their childhood. Taking them out of the country exposes them to alternative ways of living and this expands their knowledge of themselves, and the world as a whole. It also helps them develop more compassion for other people throughout the world. Obviously they can't get comparable experiences from watching documentaries or reading textbooks, as there's simply no substitute for actually interacting with other cultures in person.
In this digital age, kids can get lost in the world of the small screen, or really big screen sometimes! Traveling shows them the richness of life experience that can be had beyond any computer game or phone app. (As digital nomads we love technology because it allows us to work online, and be here for you on this blog right now, and through Ka's videos, but it has limitations). The traveling itself provides for more context and a greater understanding of what really brings meaning and fulfillment in life.
As any parent can testify, children’s minds develop at an incredibly rapid pace. Stimulating sights, sounds, smells and tactile sensations help create new neural connections constantly. This is certainly one of the reasons why babies should be surrounded by colorful toys even before they've taken their first steps. As follows, exposing your kids to new things while traveling can positively influence their brain development and can therefore make them smarter in numerous ways.
Kids take in everything (as well as want to touch everything, and if they're young, put everything in their mouth!) Their natural curiosity about the world helps them notice things that adults can easily pass by. By traveling with your children and paying attention to their unique discoveries, you can learn a great deal about things that you may otherwise have overlooked.
When traveling to new places the family unit becomes the one feature that's consistent, and there's a strong feeling of security here which is precisely why this aspect of traveling can bring families closer together. In addition, children and parents will usually share interesting experiences together that they don't share with anyone else. The closeness that can develop in these situations will be further built upon when parents understand the importance of these experiences and interactions and treat this special time with the importance it deserves.
Anyone who has traveled knows that unexpected delays and detours are bound to happen, and stress and impatience only make the experience worse. This is why both parents and children should use these opportunities to learn greater patience. This helpful skill can carry far beyond the vacation itself and prepare your children to handle life’s challenges in stride.
Traveling with your kids does mean extra work though - most definitely, but it gets easier each time you do it, particularly after extended stays abroad with them. Children who are taught to be sensible travelers from a young age will, in most cases, quickly learn to adapt to any special rules and behaviors required to have the best traveling experience.
From traveling together with 5 children (the 6th on the way), we can only emphasize the extraordinary benefits of seeing the world together (worldschooling) and how these cherished experiences are worth every bit of additional effort!
Where are you taking your kids on their next adventure? Leave a comment below!