We all know Travel is FUN, but is it actually important? Like, will my kid be a better person if I travel with them? Read on to see what the research says, discover why traveling with your kids may be the very best investment you can make.....
Parents are working longer hours, kids have more homework and activities than ever before, and grandparents don't usually live next door - but time together with our loved ones is still absolutely crucial to our wellbeing. In fact, according to recent studies, families who spend regular and planned time together actually live longer! And it's no secret that children who spend more time with their parents and grandparents are more confident and well-adjusted.
But it's important to remember that research also says that when it comes to time together with our kids, it's quality over quantity that matters. We may be with our kids all day, but are we truly engaging with them in an undisturbed environment? Or are we multi-tasking, cooking dinner, folding laundry while watching the latest season of The Bachelor (no? Just me?).
That's why protecting our uninterrupted time together is so important. Escaping the everyday hustle and immersing our family in a new destination provides learning challenges, re-establishes bonds, and emotionally stabilizes our families. Basically, it's a much-needed detox from the daily chaos that life in the digital age entails.
And I'm just going to say it:
I strongly believe that traveling with our children helps shape them and provides benefits on the same level as quality healthcare, nutritious foods, and bedtime stories.
Here are 5 specific reasons traveling together as a family is crucial to your child's development:
1. It helps kids excel academically and socially at school.
According to a recent survey, commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA), amongst a survey of almost 1,500 U.S.-based teachers, 74 percent of educators believed that travel has, “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.” 56% of teachers also held that travel had a positive impact on the child's education and future career. Teachers agreed that the students who traveled were more tolerant of differing cultures, more willing to try new things and displayed higher levels of adaptability, among other benefits.
2. To experience life with all their senses.
Sure, our kids can read about the Great Pyramids in a textbook, we can even show them a movie, but this will pale in comparison to experiencing the vast enormity and true ingenuity of The Great Pyramids - with the sand beneath your feet while the hot sun pounds down. Even wonderful stories about a city, farm, or ocean (it doesn't have to be across the world to make an impact) will feel stunted without the towering buildings, peculiar odors, or salty taste in the air.
3. Uninterrupted time with Loved Ones.
I touched on this above, but it's important enough to reiterate: families who choose to spend quality time together produce children who are confident and secure. Spending meaningful time with our kids tells them that they're important to us, and we care about them. Children who spend purposeful time with loving adults learn to model healthy communication and develop deeper bonds with grandparents and other family members who, without dedicated time together, they would not know on a significant level.
4. To teach them about history and geography.
Kids love maps, and it much more exciting to learn about the destinations and the history behind your next vacation! Track your travel on a map, read some good books about the history of the city you're heading to, then fully immerse your family into the food, culture, architecture, and history of your destination. Heck - my kids even learn a ton about different countries from walking around the World Showcase at Epcot! Take a minute to talk to them about where the country is located, point it out on the map. These conversations are important!
5. To create fun memories they can reflect on.
Let's face it, we won't always be here. Engaging in purely fun and magical experiences with our kids is worthy of our time and money. Kids aren't going to look back and remember how many toys we bought or how much money we made, they're going to remember how we made them feel when we were together. Our positive parenting experiences now will stay with them for life.
I know what you're thinking - this all sounds grand, Megan, but we're not made of money!
I know - I get it! This is certainly a lifestyle to aspire to. Consider setting up a 'vacation fund' where each month funds go directly into an account just for an annual family trip. In addition, traveling as a multi-generational group when possible can save money by splitting resort costs or group rates may apply.
But - travel doesn’t necessarily have to take you around the world to be influential. You can easily explore new cultures near your own hometown while saving for your next bigger getaway.
However you choose to spend memorable moments with your child, just get out there and start! Don't wait until they're older. Would you avoid reading books until a child is old enough to remember or understand the content of the book? No way! Travel is the same; enjoy the time with your loved ones while you have it.
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