Whether it’s a trip to visit the grandparents in California or a summer in Europe, traveling with kids has many benefits (for both kids and their parents). Next time you’re trying to decide whether to take the wee ones with you or leave them at home with a sitter, consider these five points.
• Traveling with kids teaches them how to solve problems. Let’s face it; even the best laid plans sometimes fall through. In these instances, problem-solving skills are key. Your kids will learn by watching you navigate challenges that arise during your travels. Involve them in this process. Ask them if they have any ideas for solutions or give them age-appropriate tasks to help solve the problem at hand.
• Traveling with kids teaches them the merits of being flexible and patient. Traveling can involve a lot of “hurry-up-and-wait”. Depending on your child, he or she might be great at the “hurry up” part and not so good with the waiting, or vice versa. Exposing your kids to “newness” in terms of schedules and activities helps them to become more flexible both on the road and at home.
• Traveling with kids teaches them to be organized. As you prepare for your trip and while you are on the road, give your kids age-appropriate organizational tasks (organizing the things they pack in their suitcase, planning where to have lunch that day, counting the money and paying for the museum tickets, etc.). This will teach them organizational skills that will transfer over to everyday life.
• Traveling with kids exposes them to new cultures. You don’t necessarily have to travel internationally to expose your child to a new culture. For many of us there are different cultures all around us. Talk to your children about what is meant by culture and the importance of cultural understanding. Encourage them to become anthropologists, to notice things about the cultures they experience.
• Traveling with kids encourages them to be global thinkers. Again, you don’t have to travel internationally to raise global thinkers. One of the traits of a global thinker is an interest in others, especially those who are different than him or her. Meeting people and experiencing other cultures is a wonderful way to build up this interest and encourage your kids to think on a global level.
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