TAKE THE KIDS ON A TRIP. IT’S (ALMOST) A WIN-WIN.
August, 26 2016
With Labor Day creeping up on us (is summer really over??!), some of you may be debating a trip with baby (or babies) with some degree of anxiety. I remember when my son was 6 months old and we were preparing for our first big trip. This was a biggie, we were living in the UK and going to visit my parents in the States. I spent at least a week, if not two, strategizing, packing and getting mentally prepared. I was worried. After months of real effort, I had just gotten into a decent routine with him; naps, feeds, playtime, repeat. And now, this was all going to go to waste. And to be fair, it was challenging. But I think the benefits of travelling with young children heavily outweigh some of the (sometimes painful) disadvantages.
My kids are a little older now (3 & 5) and we’ve just come back from a month of travel. Was it exhausting? Yes! Were there meltdowns? Yes! Would I do it again? Yes! So if you’re debating a trip with your child, of any age, here are my top four reasons for going for it.
1. It’s good for kids to break out of their comfort zones.
Obviously we want our kids to feel secure and safe and routines help provide that, but sometime, it’s good for their growth to step away from the routine for a while. While traveling, bathtime may turn into shower time, naptime is in the stroller and dinner is an hour later. And while kids may reject this at home because it’s not the “usual way”, they tend to be more open-minded on vacation once they understand there’s no alternative. And the result can be extraordinary. Turns out they can sit through a three-course meal if given a chance or they don’t need you to sing six songs to fall asleep at naptime. These little things they accept during vacation often carry over into positive changes when you get back home.
2. They are exposed to so many new things.
This one may seem obvious but it’s so true! When mom and dad are relaxed, the kids are relaxed also. And they become more open-minded to trying new things. So while the first point was about kids accepting certain changes because the regular routine can’t be maintained, this point is about them wanting to try new things because everyone else is. New foods, new relationships, new activities, everything is fair game on vacation. It’s a time for kids to experiment and have the freedom to take risks in a safe setting. And this builds confidence they will carry with them well beyond the trip.
3. Bonding with parents...and siblings.
This is a time for the family to share real experiences together. And siblings grow closer. For a few different reasons. For starters, they are spending more quality time together. But also, In the midst of all things new, kids get even more attached to the familiar - meaning you, and their brothers and sisters. Granted maybe it’s because they don’t have a better option, but siblings will hang out and even appear to be friends when travelling together. Everyone can leave the issues back home and just enjoy each other’s company (at least for a little while).
4. It builds appreciation for what they have back home.
This alone would be reason to travel. Kids who are always complaining about not having enough new toys to play with at home (meaning EVERY kid ever), learn to miss and appreciate what they do have. Their toys, their friends, their house, and lo and behold, even their routine.
There are loads of other reasons to do it. And lots of useful info to help you prepare when you do. Like this traveling with kids checklist. And this list of top 20 tips for taking your little ones on a trip. But the anxiety will still be there. So read the reasons again and get on board.
And when Joey has his third meltdown in the hotel restaurant because the waffles aren’t the same as the ones at home, just think about the new appreciation he’ll have for said waffles when he returns home. Hopefully.