I am constantly blown away when I hear people are nervous about taking their kids on vacation. A mom’s group I follow on Facebook seriously has a post about this daily as the summer months approach. I even have friends who flat out refuse to take their kids somewhere, mainly because they are afraid to try something new.
Maybe it’s because I grew up traveling, but we threw Lily in the car at four months and Delaney at just a few weeks and hit the road. There was no fear on our part about throwing our kids in the car or boarding and airplane! Because of this, Lily is an excellent traveler and I suspect Delaney will grow to be one as well. For those of you out there afraid to fly, here’s a secret, I’ve flown all over the world and I’m still terrified every time I get on a plane. But it will NEVER hold me back and my kids will never see my fear. However, if you ever see me in the airport, just know that I’m saying about a million prayers as I walk down the jet way and onto the plane!
Traveling is so important for kids for so many reasons. Here are five reasons to travel with your kids:
- Shows Them a Whole New World – Aladdin really knew what he was saying when he took Jasmine on that carpet ride. There really is a great big world out there – way beyond what kids can grasp just reading about it in books or watching on TV. Being able to experience different places and cultures is the best teaching method there is.
- Teaches Flexibility – Rarely do trips go 100% as planned. Often there are delayed flights, traffic jams and missed planned experiences. But this is true in real everyday life too. These travel “mishaps” help kids understand that even the most wonderful experiences are not flawless and while it’s ok to be disappointed, it is part of life.
- Takes Them Out of Their Shell – One big lesson I learned as an only child while traveling is to make friends. I have no problem talking to anyone and have made many “friends” while traveling. Lily has developed this same persona and while we are in Disney she often plays with other kids in line or talks to adults and cast members behind us.
- New Interests and Experiences – Showing kids new things will often times peak their interest at things they never knew existed. Spending an afternoon at Kennedy Space Station may lead to your kid sparking an interest in outer space. Swimming with the dolphins in the Caribbean may lead your child to become a marine biologist. It opens up their little minds by doing instead of just watching.
- Perfect Family Time – Rarely in our home life are we able to devote multiple days to just focus on the kids. When we go away it is family time all the time. Kevin and I work hard to limit our “work” to after the kids are in bed so vacation to them means no computers and no phone calls, just fun and family. As a parent it allows you to really get to know your kids and spend time doing new things with them without distraction.
Our trips have been far from perfect and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve also learned to trust my instinct, not what others tell me, and things have always worked out. My best advice to you is to suck it up, lose the fear, grab your kiddos and explore the world!