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A mother gives 5 fabulous reasons, why you should travel with your kids. It’s more than what you think!
No matter what people say, what your past experiences tell you, or how tough you find it in the beginning, traveling with kids is absolutely worth it.
Yes, you will have to plan every detail.
Yes, you will have to be on your toes all the time.
And yes, it is going to be demanding. Very.
But – Traveling with kids is as special as it is important, for both – the kids and the parents.
As someone who travels with her daughter ever so often, let me tell you why it is important.
New places, new people and new surroundings – all make kids aware of the difference in our regular lives and the world outside our homes. Travel teaches kids to be compassionate and humble, instilling in them a quality that the world needs more of. As kids, observe new places and people, they learn to be more accepting of ways that are different that ours, and they learn to appreciate what they have. Watching your child mingle with children of different cultures and backgrounds, without any preconceived ideas or prejudice is something every adult should take the chance to see and learn from. Travel is the ‘Best Teacher’ of all times, and nothing can make a parents more proud than a well aware, compassionate and humble child, right?
Our kids education will NOT suffer if we take them out of school for some time – this is something every parent needs to repeat five times. Seriously, we are so caught up in the percentages, the numbers and the attendance, that we forget the real meaning of education. Traveling provides children of all ages an education that simply can’t be matched. Kids are like sponge, they absorb every tiny detail, and when traveling to new places, they learn things that no school, no story book and no TV show can teach. Travel can make History and Geography come alive, but that’s not all! From remembering all the botanical names of all the flowers in The Valley of Flowers, to learning about Buddhism in a part of Himalayas – From learning how to camp in wilderness, to singing songs in a new language around a bonfire – Travel teaches our kids the language of love, of tolerance and of gratitude, which is exactly the kind of education they need.
Not only the kids get to learn by travel, but traveling with kids teaches us adults a lot too. Yes, it works both ways! Children have an untainted view of the world, and while traveling with them, we parents find ourselves noticing things that we would otherwise have overlooked or missed completely. Traveling with little ones teaches us to be more informed about the place we’re visiting – so that we can answer their endless questions, of course. It teaches us to be well prepared – for little allergies or cute demands. And it teaches us to be more grateful for little things – like a bowl of warm soup on a cold evening? Pure bliss, right? Learning should never stop, they say, and travel shouldn’t either!
Contrary to what the brand advertisements and the magazine articles want us to believe, our kids do NOT need a room full of toys to be entertained. The best entertainment we can provide for our kids is a life full of memories and moments to cherish for life. Some experiences fulfill us, while others teach us a lesson. Both are equally important. Whether it is a small hike on a Himalayan trail with the wrong shoes, or a Snow-Man with your favorite (and very expensive) lipstick smudged on his lips, whether it’s a rash you got from a tree or the spicy food you ate at a local dhaba – you will be laughing at it later, narrating these stories in your living rooms, and the kids will take these experiences with them for life.
As an Army family who moves from station to station ever so often, and as a passionate traveler couple – my husband and I are proud that travel has made our daughter develop an immense sense of home as wherever the family is, rather than it being a place or a particular city / house. Isn’t it beautiful? The time you spend making memories, is the time you and the kids will remember. Years later, someone will ask you “What exactly is your daughter doing in this picture?”, you’ll smile, remembering the time when she ran to chase the deer in a National Park and got totally mad when you tried to bring her back. “She’s picking up stones to throw at us because the deer went into hiding.”, you’ll tell them happily. (true story)
So, there you go.
People will tell you it’s a hassle to travel with kids, they will tell you about snarky looks of fellow airline passengers or requests to ‘keep it down’ from people on the train – and you might have experienced it yourself too. You will have to be extremely well prepared, you will have to give it your all, yes.
But the joy of passing your love for travel on to your kids, is unmatched. Ingraining a sense of travel and adventure in your child from the get-go could help the entire family dynamic, and will help kids grow into good human beings. So, don’t let people tell you that traveling with kids is impossible.
Travel teaches kids a lot more than anything else ever can. So next time you plan a trip, pack a tiny bag and take the little one along. Like I said, it will be tough, but is absolutely worth it.
A family on travel image via Shutterstock
A version of this article appeared here.
Author. Writer. Blogger. Talker.
Army Wife. Mother. Digital Media Girl.
Read my book 'Soldier & Spice:
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