‘My kids are too young to enjoy the experience of travel’
‘They won’t remember a thing’
‘When they are older, they will be able to take away more from the trip’.
We know of many parents who keep on postponing travels until their children reach a certain age; until a certain time in the future, when the kids will be ‘ready’ to remember and enjoy the places they visit.
Parents, with younger children, often think, that traveling doesn’t hold too many advantages. The thought of packing extra clothes, toys, and the many different chargers for the dozens of devices, is enough to drive them over the edge. They might think that all the energy and effort to get on the road, travel for thousand miles, and reach that much anticipated destination, aren’t worth it. They assume the children most likely won’t even remember, let alone appreciate the trip. Add to this the extra costs of traveling with kids, and you can see why many parents are reluctant to exploring many of the beautiful places out there.
How do you feel about this?
Perfect age for traveling?
Some assume that there is such a thing… that children must reach a certain maturity in order to enjoy, learn, and benefit holistically from a travel experience. The truth is that any age is a perfect age to do so. Studies say that all emotional and cognitive influences on the young mind have a strong input and effect on whom that child will become in the future. The moments are never lost. Each and every experience, exploration or trigger for the sense of wonder will develop the child into a creative, imaginative, and intelligent adult.
Travel equals destination?
You might think that your vacation starts, once you arrive at your destination. The opposite is true. From the moment you slam the door behind you, and ‘hit’ the road, your travels start. I would even argue, that your travels start from the moment you decide on a destination, sometimes months in advance, sometimes even years. Each day you think of your dream vacation, each time you Google your favorite destination, each time you research on what you will visit, who you will see, what you will bring … It is all part of it!
So, when you are packing the extra things you need to keep the little ones occupied on the road, when you sit down and write down your what-not-to-forget list, make sure you remember and even more importantly, feel, that you are prepping your next travel. Make the kids a big part of these steps and you should involve them, wherever possible. Have a conversation about what kind of experience they would like to have? What would they like to see, touch and feel? You can use their input in creating the most adventurous travel for the entire family. And always know, that a short, nearby city trip, can be as adventurous as any far away, exotic, travel destination. If you feel less confident, that’s where you might start. Book a city trip nearby, and start with one night away from home. If you feel the need for some extra support, talk to friends, or invite your family along. Travel together! Many hands make light work.
Work your way up to longer vacations. Find your way to bigger adventures. The key is to do this at your own pace and to leave any anxiety at the door. Find the courage to travel with your kids. Don’t see it as a time that will drive you insane, but see it as a way to strengthen your relation with your children. Cement strong ties and make memories that you will share with your grandchildren.
Don’t let their age be an excuse. Traveling with young kids will force you to move at a slower pace and inevitably make you see more details along the way. Things you might miss, when traveling without them. Follow their lead in your journeys.
Embrace the adventure that is travelling, from that very moment they are born. The best way for them to understand other cultures is by experiencing it, and traveling beyond your own horizons, will surely do that. They will learn that the world isn’t that small after all and surely they will discover new things they fall in love with.
Traveling, for our family, has taught us to be thankful for what we have and has helped us better understand our place in the world.
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