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If You Want Smarter Kids, You Might Need to Take Them On A Vacation
I know it sounds counterintuitive to take your child on vacation as a way to make them smarter. I mean, why not hire tutors, or make them do enrichment activities? You can certainly do that, but travel has been shown to create smarter, more adaptable children, and you will have much more fun in the process.
In addition to making your kids smarter, traveling as a family will strengthen family bonds and trust in each other. There are lots of other benefits for kids who travel.
I have been traveling with my kids for the past 21 years, and I can say for certain, that traveling with kids has made my kids more inquisitive and made our family stronger.
It costs some money for sure, but aren’t family memories the best thing you can spend money on?
We travel to make our kids brighter and more enthusiastic about the world.
Are you more likely to remember the name of the famous Cathedral in Paris by reading it or by running around it 100 times? My kids have Notre Dame cemented in their little minds because it was the fun church they ran around.
When it comes up in school, they have a context of understanding and are more likely to be interested in studying it. History, culture, science, languages, all these things are out there for your kids to discover.
A recent study showed that kids who travel are smarter, more adaptable, and more curious about the world around them. The educational benefits of travel are enormous!
We travel to strengthen our family
My husband and I aren’t daily strangers who fill each other in on schedules and important milestones and whose turn it is to wake up with the kids. We get to spend the entire day together and remember why we wanted to be those daily strangers in the first place.
The kids get both parents at the same time, and we aren’t the grumpy, tired parents they normally greet at the end of the day. I revel in the time we have to play and the memory-making we do.
A study by the University of Massachusetts shows that family travel strengthens family bonds and can lower the incidence of divorce. The benefits were shown whether traveling as a couple or as a family.
It gets all of us away from our daily routine and helps us grow closer as a family. Is the daily schedule of getting up, getting everyone ready, getting to work, getting home, feeding, watering, and cleaning the kids, and then collapsing into bed to start all over again getting old?
The Travel Effect Lasts Longer than the Trip
I have found that travel enriches this both before and after a trip. We love to reminisce about the places we have visited together, plan the next trip, and cook and eat the food we enjoyed in faraway places.
We have Mardi Gras nights, where we make masks and eat the food of New Orleans. Other times we make maple sugar candy to French music and pretend we are in Quebec. These little things enliven the daily grind and tie us back to the place we love.
We even “Travel the World from Home” with activities from Germany, Thailand, Greece, and more.
Vacations are the fabric of our memories
How many of you can remember what you got for Christmas 20 years ago? By comparison, how many of you can remember the childhood vacation you took 20 years ago? These two things are the most important memories that I have, and yet the details I can recall from the vacation trumps Christmas presents every time.
When we travel, we make family memories together!
When we are exposed to new things and new environments, our attention is fully engaged, and those experiences become cemented in our minds. I am so happy that my memories and my kids’ memories are the happy and carefree ones of vacation.
Vacations create the most pictures
How many photos do you have of your kids playing video games? Probably none. But visit Orlando and all of a sudden; you have hundreds of photos of your family.
While this may not be a truly legitimate reason to go on vacation with your kids, it is a bonus!
Travel teaches kids to be adaptable
Not everything goes right on vacation. Attractions close before we can get to them, traffic is worse than we thought, and the shoes we brought with us hurt our feet. You name it; there is always a speed bump when we travel.
You don’t have the luxury of extra time, extra money, or going home and forgetting about travel. You have to learn to work through issues as a family. When we have big issues that arise when we are traveling, we have the kids help us brainstorm on what to do. They feel like part of the solution, and their confidence grows.
I love seeing them bring brainstorming into our home life as well. They realize that problems can be overcome, and you must take things as they come.
Sure, it does take a little extra effort to travel with kids, but the reward is so much greater than the things that keep you from it.
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