One of the most common things I hear from friends and family is "Why do you take your kids on all your travels? They won't remember it or appreciate it." I know they all mean well when they say these things. I think to myself why take them anywhere then? Will, they remember going to the park? Or that weekly Sunday Picnic? Or the books we read each night?
Yes, they will.
Why wouldn't they remember a vacation they took with their family to Japan? I truly believe, any trip is very memorable for a child. It is being in an unfamiliar place and learning about new things. I remember as a child visiting Disneyland and going swimming at the beach EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of the summer when we lived on the island of Crete. Don't let the idea that your children might not remember going on a trip dissuade you from taking them with you. Traveling is all about the EXPERIENCE rather than something tangible. Your kids will remember the memories you created together. My son's and I have inside jokes on our travels that make the trip that much more personal. This is the important part, the part they will remember. Travel isn't free but exposing children to the world helps to create world citizens. Ones that understand the world beyond their hometown.
With this in mind, we are a military family, some of our travels are simply because the military moved us to a country. Others are because we saved to afford to shop smartly and travel with our kids. Our boys are 7 and 1 and have been to a handful of countries and all over the U.S. Traveling is second nature to them and flying is a true walk in the park.
Today I'm listing my reasons for why I love traveling with my children.
1. Travel teaches diversity -
Taking your kids traveling teaches them how diverse the world is. There is not only one kind of ethnicity and culture in the world. Kids learn about the differences between their culture and other kids culture. They also learn to quickly accept that culture, because at the end of the day kids LOVE to play. No matter the difference they will overlook them because they are more than eager to play. While on a trip to Japan, my husband and I decided to let our son wind down and play at a park. There were several Japanese kids playing in the park. Initially, there was a little hesitation when my son and the Japanese kids realized they didn't speak the same language. Quickly, all of them discovered by using hand signals that is was actually quite easy to get along and play. This also happened a number of times to us in Hawai'i. It's such a wonderful thing to see kids getting along so well without having to use any verbal language at all.
2. Travel teaches geography -
One of my oldest son's favorite things to do on an airplane is to study the travel map. He loves to see where we came from and where we are going. No secret that I enjoy looking at that map too! Simply traveling to a new location sparks a slew of questions from my son. The concept of leaving the U.S. and going elsewhere really has him asking a lot of questions about the destination. We often consult Google Maps to share with our son where we are going. To be fair he already has an interest in maps but traveling just intensifies that interest. It shows where we are in the world and the idea of going so far from home is thrilling to him. This can be something you share with your children as well. Sparking an interest in learning about the geography of our world.
3. Travel teaches curiosity -
Often when we travel my son wants to learn about how children eat, learn and play. He is curious about how kids live differently from him. Kids, in general, are naturally curious. They love to explore and taking your kids traveling helps expand that curiosity. Perhaps it sparks more questions for your kid and opens their minds to different ways of life. Traveling with your kids exposes them to different foods, music, and languages. It helps to develop kids that question and kids that feel comfortable to explore the world.
4. Travel teaches connection -
Traveling teaches your kids how important your family is. They (hopefully) can't use their phone or other electronics overseas. There are fewer distractions for you and your kids. Which means they get to see YOU and talk with you and connect with you more. Traveling creates some great memories that will help strengthen bonds for your family. Additionally, when you are in another country and no one speaks English, it just helps to have your kids talk to you more. To be in your company more and to discuss this shared experience in the midst of it. I find that we do have joy at home, but when we are away from home there is so much more joy. Where our son shares a lot more about his experience and his excitement while we are traveling.
5. Travel teaches compassion -
Traveling can teach your kids to feel gratitude for the things they have at home. Such as access to clean water, safe food, and shelter. Witnessing how different people live their lives around the world spawns a lot of questions that can teach children how lucky they are. Travel truly makes kids world citizens and helps to develop an understanding of the world around them.
Travel is life-changing and teaches kids to be part of a global society rather than living only within the confines of their local city. Kids learn so much for getting out of the daily grind and truly seeing the world around them. As a mother of two young kids, I treasure the time I spend with them home and traveling. I can't replicate the experiences they have while they travel and I appreciate each learning moment and discovery in a new destination. If you are considering traveling soon let's talk! I help curious-minded families to plan enriching vacations that unify family bonds through discovery and experience.