Besides the fun and games, travelling provides a valuable learning opportunity for children. Here’s why.
Francis Bacon, an English philosopher once said, “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”
And we can’t agree more. While travelling with kids may be challenging at times, we can’t deny how it increases their awareness about their surroundings and allows them to perceive the world in a different light. In fact, some say that travelling is the ultimate classroom for the little ones, as it teaches them social skills and life skills that will stay with them for life.
A quick and effective way to teach your child to garner a sense of responsibility is to simply provide them with their own luggage. By enabling them to do their own packing (under your guidance, of course) and taking charge of their own luggage and bags, it would give your kid the idea that he or she is now big enough to handle responsibilities and that you trust them. P.s, it’s a good way to boost their self-confidence too!
- To be Open-Minded
Spending time in a different country and meeting new people will change the way your child thinks. It is crucial for children to hone a broad mind as it moulds them into non-judgemental individuals when they grow up who are sensitive to other people’s choices, beliefs and practices. Keeping an open-mind will also allow children to garner many friends and gives them the ability to survive anywhere in the world when they grow up.
Let’s face it – travelling can sometimes a toll on children, with all that waiting game. From waiting in lines for check-in, security to take-off and landing, the list is endless. However, this is good practice for children to grow to be more patient. After all, patience is indeed a virtue. “I must say that travelling, especially on long-haul flights has nurtured my daughter to be more patient. Kids get cranky easily on board and their patience is almost non-existent. But whenever my child starts to show signs of restlessness, I always remind her about the attraction she’s looking forward to visit on the other end and remind her that she has to go through this in order to enjoy later,” shares Salma Ali, mother of one.
- To Question
There are times when the continuous ‘whys’ from your kiddos drive you nuts but it sure is a sign of healthy mental development. So keep encouraging your child to be curious and question things around him or her. Curiosity acts as the foundation for learning so prompt your children with questions when you visit a new place. Quizzing them about the history of the city or getting them to share with you their thoughts on the surroundings will foster a habit of asking questions in your child. To question and be curious gives your child the opportunity to make sense of the world.
To be honest, all us of (yes, including you, parents) tend to take what we have for granted. Travelling exposes us to all aspects of society – from the rich to the poor. While we may be fortunate to have luxuries in life, there are others who are barely making ends meet.
Travelling to countries with different cultures, religious and customs can be a hugely enriching experience. Witnessing a different culture teaches children to have a broader understanding of the country and the practices. It also lets the little ones to relate better to the people around the world which they may not be used to. Knowing the different cultures of the world also makes it easier for children to understand the history of the country and how certain traditions and systems came about.
To be able to live and survive out of their comfort zones can heighten your child’s self-confidence tremendously. Travelling gives children confidence because it requires them to be adventurous and at times, to even face and fight off their fears. Being able to do what they never knew they could bring an increased sense of self-worth and self-esteem to everything they do in the future. Whether it’s making new friends, hiking, diving, getting up close and personal with an animal they’re afraid of or even trying out food they’re not used to, they will always have the ‘if I could survive this, I can survive anything’ mentality in them.
No matter how good the planning, there is bound to be something that will go wrong while travelling. It could be as simple as unexpected weather or poor transportation. Regardless of the situation, children will learn to accept, deal and make-do with it. When I travelled to India with my family (inclusive of a toddler), we happened to get stuck in a massive traffic jam for a good hour in an air-conditioned car that blew out hot air instead of cold. What surprised us the most was how my nephew stayed calm throughout the whole time without fussing, even when the heat in the car was getting intolerable. This showed us adaptation is truly large skill that children attain, as they learn well how to adapt even in the most difficult times.