Hooray! It's summer again! It's the time kids all over the world most look forward to. I don't know about you, but my kids have have bene making plans for every day of the summer for the last 3 months!
Summer is the time when the year-long stimuli can be consciously paused, stopped or slowed for the children to rediscover spontaneous activities of their own choosing. Scientists have established that this period of wakeful rest gives a unique and much-needed boost to executive functions by reinforcing memory replay for enhanced learning.
Summer is also the time when we get to dream up our own rabbit-holes to visit our own wonderlands. Whether is it a trip to grandma's house or to DisneyLand, travel brings with it the unique pleasure and anticipation of a fresh experience and excitement of newness!
Travelling with kids involves a whole lot of preparation. Yet, here are some kick-ass effects of travelling with your child that cannot be ignored.
1. They become naturally more inclusive:
"Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow"- Anita Desai.
Children who travel soak up multiple cultures and practices. They become deeply empathetic individuals- one of the most important traits that directly correlated with success in adult life. Needless to say, children who are exposed to multiple cultures mould into confident individuals who are more socially more adept- because they hone their ability for acceptance and tolerance.
2. Travel fuels their insatiable curiosity:
Travelling puts us in contact with myriad fields like archeology, art, culture, music, food, languages, tourist highlights- not to mention the hundreds of other travellers who criss-cross in and out of your life. There is literally no better way for an immersive learning experience.
Pro tip: If you think they need more- Use Google. Involve them in the planning to your vacation(with boundaries, of course). For example- give them a choice between 3-4 places that might have similar budgets. Help them look up the place on Google and learn what they can about it before they set foot on the land. Allow them to explore various routes. The richness of the experience is doubled when children "touch- and-feel" what they read about and imagined in their heads.
3. They learn to look beyond the toys:
I don't mean the one that you little one needs tucked by her side at night. But, having fewer toys helps them absorb their own surroundings better and invent new ways to engage with the environment. Plus, it helps in travelling lighter!
4. They become polyglots without batting an eyelid:
Forget those evening language lessons to help your child with grammar. Children who travel are known to pick up multiple languages easily and show lesser resistance to learning a new language. Back home, they seek out multicultural groups and are less shy about speaking in a new language.
5. The family unit becomes tighter:
When you travel as a family to a foreign land, it is natural to want to stick together as a family. Children are exposed to new cultures, but also learn to value their own identities as a society. Plus, it's definitely more time spent hanging around with each other - making family units tighter in the process.
6. They learn in the context of the real world:
Children learn exponentially more by being out in the real word than they can ever do in a classroom. Like this dad, who explains it beautifully in a letter to the Principal who condemned their family vacation. It's true. This kind of learning can hardly be matched.
7. They become self-reliant and very resourceful:
You might have made a thousand plans. Yet, the only thing we should really expect during travel is the unexpected. The limits that a backpack or a suitcase imposes on travellers is reason enough to be extremely alert, adaptable, self-reliant and resourceful! Plus, they will come up with a thousand ideas to beat 'boredom'. And, yes- they will see first-hand the workings of group-decisions.
8. Their grades improve:
Annals of scientific study has shown that being multi-lingual increases executive function- which is direct predictor of academic success. Also, a study conducted by the University System of Georgia in 2000, established that children who studied/lived abroad showed improved academic performance when they returned to home turf.
9. You soak in the world together and create memories:
Travelling with your children not only changes the way they see the world, but it evolves the way an adult sees the world too. It's a great way to see and understand the world through your child's eyes.
Encourage the child to keep a travel journal. The way they write about their travels not only opens up the world to you, but helps you understand what the child truly values. In all probability, you might find that the expensive dinner you took him to, did not even make an entry into his dairy- but the sparkies you collected by the curb at the bus-station found a triple-star entry into this journal.
Seriously, is there a better way to know your child and see her evolve?
10. They become Global citizens:
Travelling the world together means you are preparing your child to fit into the role of a Global citizen. They are less likely to be boxed into limited identities - setting the ground for limitless possibilities.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said:
"The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions."
About the Author:
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- where parenting is inspired by kids. It's a specialised content zone for two important facets that touch a child's life- Parenting and Education. Get your own FREE eBook "53 Timeless Parenting Hacks To Raise Happy Kids" here. Watch out for her soon-o-be-launched line of merchandize exclusively inspired by everyday quips of children!