Updated: Feb 10
I've had so many cases when well-meaning friends and family have looked at me and asked “why do you travel so much with young kid? It’s not like he’ll remember any of it!” With a message that travel is wasted on his mind. That all he will have, is photographs to look back upon when he will be older. That he won’t remember any of adventures. That the true benefits of travel can only be enjoyed as an adult. That the money spent on traveling the world with him is somehow wasted.
All I can do is ask: why take kids to a playground or push them on a swing? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either!
Travel is about the experience. Of making memories and feelings together. Off course, travel isn't the cheapest way to give it, but what is priceless are the learning opportunities and character shaping possibilities that it provides especially for young children.
So I want you to read 5 life lessons what travel teach for kid and has taught our son.
1. BEING RESPONSIBLE
Not only does this mean taking accountability for your actions but also behaving in a mature manner. For children, knowing how to behave responsibly can start with learning about boundaries and keeping yourself and others safe. Travelling gives plenty of opportunities to do so, whether it be learning about road safety when walking on the streets or visiting landmarks built on unpredictable terrain. We can foster responsibility in kids by role-modeling behavior, communicating and giving age-appropriate choices. Encouraging children to value responsibility from a young age will give them a good chance of being responsible as an adult. This, in turn, will make it more likely for them to be trusted to make sensible decisions in the adult life.
2. BECOME ADAPTABLE AND MORE FLEXIBLE
Traveling with kids exposes them to a new ‘normal.’ It allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits.
Enzo understands that there always will not be high chairs, so him have to eat on my lap. He is used to sleeping in his bed, sleeping in prams, sleeping on an airplane seat, sleeping in a crowded shopping mall or outside, under a blanket. Travel has also helped to ensure he is not picky eater. He ate corn from the street store in Brazil, and tried new fruits from Cypriot gardens.
While technology makes it feel like the world is getting smaller, the fact is that the world is filled with people of every color, religion, and culture imaginable. As parents, we can either teach our kids to be tolerant and excited to learn about how other people live, work, and navigate their world, or we can stay stuck in our own little cliques and communities. My advice? Share the world’s diversity with your kids. Let them explore and celebrate the commonalities and the differences. This lesson will not only serve them well in life, but it will make them more compassionate people. And in the end, isn’t that what we really want for our kids?
When we were in China with Enzo we felt so well what it means to be stuck in our own little cliques and communities. Enzo made the Chinese uncontrolled. Apparently the blond boy was a rarity for them. They were fumbling, giggling and behaving like I certainly would not want Enzo to behave in the future.
4. CURIOSITY AND LOVE OF ADVENTURE
Travel made them more curious and instill in them a love for adventure: Travel helps ignite children’s imagination and encourages them to engage in creative play; skills that they develop during childhood.
Enzo was thrilled watching the parrots in Brazil, climbing mountains in China and walk through archaeological excavations in Cyprus. Interestingly, when he returned home, he began to take simple walks with much more interest on it.
5. THEY CAN LEAD
As parents, we often get so caught up in the fear of something going wrong that we ruin the traveling experience for kids or we just constantly keep running.
I have understood that the trip is the best time for kids. It's their time to lead. When we have plenty of time at airport I'm ready to answer every finger raised by Enzo (he is not yet speaking, but he is tapping his finger to all he wants to know) because I just have time for it. We learn to eat in public places and hold hands in crowded places. In the city, I'm ready to stand for 20 minutes and wait as Enzo watches the chair screws. And to his happy face I see how important it is to him. That he can lead, that he can show what's interesting for him.
Also studies revealed that soft skills are the most important factor in the workplace, rather than academic or vocational qualifications. This is where exploring the world outside the classroom can benefit children’s learning. Just as play can equip kids with invaluable life skills, travel can help them develop a whole host of personal attributes that will help them to succeed in the working world and beyond.
So, next time when somebody asks“why do you travel so much with young kid?'', just give this post to read.