Michael and I share the same penchant for traveling. We like to explore and experience different places and we hope to influence our kids to have the same passion. Before Mia even turned one, we already had mini out-of-town trips aside from our regular visits to our province. We do this so we can have a feel of how (difficult) it will be to be tugging a baby along when we travel. When Mia turned 1, we got her a passport and started planning our first out-of-the-country trip.
Some people may consider taking very young kids to trips as just a waste of time and money – they say they won’t remember it anyway. Some think that traveling will expose young kids to risks that can be avoided by just staying home. Yes – those points are very valid, but as a parent, I want my children to go places, experience different cultures, meet different people – and I want them to start early.
Traveling with children is not easy. Planning, saving up, preparing, and packing are already hard as it is, triple it up when you will have kids in tow. But all these do not outweigh the benefits and long-term effects of traveling – here are the reasons why we travel with our children.
Strengthens our bond as a family
We like going on trips because it means we are sharing the same space, eating the same food, doing the same activities 24 hours a day. It gives us the opportunity to appreciate each other’s company, and for Michael and I to know more about our children. It lets us observe how they are on a different setting and outside their comfort zones. In one of our trips last year, I was already heavily pregnant with Mika and could not do a lot of walking anymore, Michael planned activities for him and Mia and they had their own bonding time. They had such a great time together! Until now, my 3-year old still talks about it and how much fun they had.
Teaches the kids that the possibilities are endless
Although it maybe a little too early for Mika, but for Mia as early as now, we open her up to the idea that the world offers a lot of opportunities. We expose her to different occupations and make her try new activities to pique her different interests. Our favorite way to do this is to visit museums and libraries because these places highlight a vast range of occupations and areas of study like Archaeology, Astronomy and Marine Biology. We want our kids to dream big and go places – we want them to know that geography should not he a hindrance – they can be a furniture designer in Cebu, a diver in Davao, a journalist in New York, an actress in West End or a vet in Africa.
Helps them conquer their fears
Kids are often skeptic and are easily frightened. It may be that they are afraid of the dark, heights, enclosed spaces or loud sounds – and I feel that going on trips is the perfect opportunity to lure your children to conquer these fears. Going out of town, or if you have more budget, out of the country, is very exciting for them. And because they are excited, it’s relatively easier for parents to let their kids try new things like riding the tall Ferris Wheel even if they are scared of heights, eat different types of food (for kids who will not eat anything other than fried chicken), or even watch a cultural show or a play in a dimly-lit theatre.
Instills to them the value of hard work and saving
Mia would always ask us to go on a vacation as if it was very cheap to do so. One day she’d say she would like to go to Japan or New York, on another she says she wants to go to Paris. She says it in the same tone that she says she wants to go to her cousin’s house. Of course, we would tell her that it costs us money to go on trips and we’d tell her that we need to save – and she can help by not asking us to buy a lot of stuff. We also tell her that both her father and I need to work hard so we can save for our needs and our trips too. So every time she feels like crying because I need to go out of the house to attend to a meeting, I tell her that mom needs to work so we can save up. Now she knows better and tells us that we need to save money.
Builds up their confidence
When we went to our first out of the country trip, Mia got surprised to see other people or other races. She was very shy at first when people say hello to her and would just look down and stay quiet. But now, she’s very confident in approaching kids and adults alike, even if they are of different nationalities. I think it helped that she gets exposed to different people – now she would converse with them with no hesitation and even be the one to start up a conversation. I believe this would be a good training for the kids to not be afraid of, and feel inferior over foreigners.
Teaches them to be appreciative of what we have
We’d like our children to be grateful for all of the blessings given our way, it may be just a good meal, a small toy, a laughing fest – more so when we are blessed with the opportunity to travel. We teach them to appreciate what we have and a simple thank you from our child when they had a good time makes our heart full.
Lastly, we travel together because it’s lonely travelling alone!
Hope this inspires you to take your kids when you travel. Enjoy your week ahead!