Traveling with a baby can be a lot of work, but it’s so worth it!
Did you know that traveling with kids as young as six month old helps to boost brain development? The most crucial brain development happens from age 0-3, so even though they might not remember what happened during this time, it still impacts the way their personality develops. The earlier and more frequently kids are exposed to different cultures, lifestyles, and landscapes, the more it becomes a part of who they are.
Dr. Robin Hancock, a global education specialist, told Travel + Leisure that “Traveling and educating children about their roles as citizens of the world when they’re young ensures they will retain that message into their adult years. When somebody begins a habit or a tradition early in life, that becomes the foundation through which they view the world for the rest of their life”.
You don’t have to plan a two week backpacking trip across Europe for your kids to benefit from traveling. Any experience that exposes them to new people or new places will aid in their development and help to establish a greater understanding of the world. Here are some additional reasons to pack up and hit the road with your family.
The younger and more frequently that kids are exposed to new languages, the easier it will be for them to learn their own language and foreign languages: “Traveling with young children, even as young as six months old, can also help them with linguistic development,” said Erika Levy, an associate professor in communication sciences. “If we surround them with speech sounds from all around the world... [this] helps later on in life with their language”.
Whether you are waiting in lines at the airport, fishing at a lake, or sitting together at a restaurant sampling the local cuisine, you are making invaluable memories together. Even if your kids are too young to remember any details from certain trips, there will still be pictures, stories, and the bonding experience that they will always carry with them. They might not remember eating squid by the ocean for the first time, but they will remember the excitement that comes with trying something new and the feeling of being surrounded by a loving and adventurous family.
Traveling with your kids helps to show them that their perspective is not the only perspective, which will help them be more empathetic and knowledgeable about different lifestyles. The conversations that you have with your kids about your experiences and the differences that you see will also help them to be more understanding. Even if your kids can’t talk yet, they are paying close attention to your attitude, the way you treat others, and they are listening to your words.
“Travel has the potential to create a new narrative that teaches children about the similarities with others [and] lays a strong foundation, especially in the early years...We have the potential to raise a generation that knows how to live and coexist with each other,” Dr. Hancock said.
Consider all the potential challenges of traveling: Delayed flight, flat tire, no vacancies at the hotel, you forgot a toothbrush...every problem is an opportunity for your kids to learn how to be resourceful and flexible. They will learn from watching you solve problems and by having a new routine that gets them out of their comfort zone.
Think back to when you were in school; what do you remember more vividly? Being in a classroom or going on field trips? Field trips! Field trips, like traveling, enhance the learning experience because kids are doing something; they are using all their senses while they travel and having first hand experiences. According to Mind Growth Education, “Play based learning and travel stimulate children's minds by boosting their creativity and imagination and can help with language, literacy, and social development” (2021). Think about all the new sounds, tastes, smells, textures, and sights that traveling provides and what all those stimulants can do for your child’s growing brain.
If you and your partner love travel and adventure, it is important for your kids to share your passion so that your family can enjoy each new experience together. Whether you're driving across the state to visit family for Thanksgiving or hopping on an international flight, you can make anything exciting and fun for your kids as long as you show them your excitement and spirit for adventure.
Traveling can be expensive and complicated due to the pandemic. Be creative about where you can take your family, look for travel deals, and don’t forget that the journey is more important than the destination. Consider taking your kids on a road trip to see the sights or even to the lake for the weekend. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go!
Looking for the perfect backpack to take with you on your travels? Check out our Boundless Charm Diaper Bag that can be worn as a backpack or messenger bag, has an expandable main compartment, and is water repellent. Humble-Bee has all your adventuring essentials to get you and your kids where you want to go.