19 VALUABLE LESSONS TRAVEL TEACHES KIDS
19 Valuable lessons travel teaches kids
There are many life lessons and skills to be learnt from travelling.
We sometimes hear – is travelling with children really worth it?
If you have been holding off taking your children away with you until they are ‘old enough to get more out of it’ then don’t delay any longer!
At every single age (even as tiny babies) they can learn so much from new experiences.
The sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of every different city, country and person can help them develop and grow.
The more they experience the more they will appreciate themselves and the world around them.
Valuable Lessons Travel Teaches Kids
Confidence comes from experience.
The more you do something the easier it becomes and the stronger, more confident you feel.
Travelling helps your children to gain confidence by putting them in situations they haven’t experienced before. Those experiences add to their knowledge and they will feel more confident next time they encounter something similar.
Also allowing your children to take responsibility for some things themselves helps them to gain confidence in their own abilities. Things such as letting them decide which way to go when exploring a city or choosing the activity for the day can really boost their confidence when everyone really enjoys their choices!
Learning to believe in themselves is an incredibly empowering lesson and will help them to grow into confident adults.
We feel that it is important not to shield your children completely from the problems/difficulties of the world.
Talk about issues in an appropriate way and discuss what is/should/could be done about it. Let your children know if there are ways in which they themselves could make a difference.
Children really take on board wider issues and love coming up with creative ways that they could help, even if the only option is raising money to help relevant charities.
We as a family focus a lot on the global plastic problem and in particular plastic pollution in the oceans.
So much so that our eldest daughter, Saskia (age 10), has the ambition to become an scientist specialising in Oceanography to try and solve the problem of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic that are currently in our oceans.
For you, themselves, other people, different cultures, wildlife and environments.
The more children get see different places the more they understand that everywhere is different, with diverse cultures and beliefs and yet people are people and everyone deserves the same level of respect.
Appreciating that other people may have different views than you and that it is ok to think differently, is a valuable lesson indeed.
Experiencing animal based activities can educate your children in conservation and give them a greater understanding of the importance of respecting the habitats that animals live in. We can all help keep those habitats safe.
4. Problem Solving
There are many problems you can encounter whilst away on vacation…
- You don’t speak the language
- Missed flights/buses/trains
- Bad weather
- Not enough local currency
The list goes on and on, although you’d be very unlucky to experience all of these problems in one trip!
Teaching your children how to problem solve is invaluable
Identify the problem, look at possible solutions, choose a course of action and then reflect on it afterwards.
By watching the way you, as a parent, tackle the problems you encounter your children learn how to deal with difficult situations themselves.
If you’re not the best in stressful situations or when things don’t go to plan it is definitely worth trying to change the way you react so that you can help your children for their future (and yourself too!).
5. Widen Perspective
It can be difficult for children to think outside of what they can see. Their ‘bubble’. Their house, their school and their friends and family.
Travel gives them an opportunity to widen their knowledge of the world.
The more they explore and the further they travel the easier they will grasp the concept of the wider world and their place in it.
The diverse array of places that people live can really open their eyes. It can give them a reason to want to explore further and find out more.
It can also help them to see things from other peoples points of view. They can form their own opinions and be more aware that other people may not have the same experience as them and therefore have different opinions and this is ok.
There are so many ways that travelling can improve your children’s communication skills!
- Meeting new people – is a wonderful way for children to develop their communication skills.
- Watching you communicate with others – this can give them the confidence to try it out for themselves!
- Listening/Speaking to other languages – this one speaks for itself. (pardon the pun!) The first time they say a word in a different language to a local and get a positive response will really boost their confidence and they’ll want to do it again!
They will learn that a language barrier isn’t really a barrier, that you can make yourself understood and understand others without speaking the same language at all!
7. Memories are special
Children tend to live in the moment.
Travel provides them with amazing memories that they can keep forever and share with their friends and teachers.
Taking photos and keeping travel journals can give them amazing mementos to look back on and will bring a smile to their faces for many years to come. Photos and written journals can also help them remember a lot more than they otherwise might so take as many photos of your adventures as possible!
They can also draw on their experiences to help them understand things in the future and they can use their memories to inspire others.
Their memories also help to develop the people they will become as they grow into adults.
8. Less is more
Experiences over things!
When travelling, even if you don’t travel particularly lightly, your children will have far less ‘things’ available to them.
This is a great life lesson; it teaches them how to occupy themselves and to interact more with the world around them. It will also teach them that they don’t NEED those extra things.
This is particularly effective if, like us, you expect your children to be responsible for their own ‘luxury’ items. Each of our children has a travel backpack, they can put whatever they like in them so long as
a) it fits
b) they can carry it.
Top Tip: If you do this too make them carry it around for at least half an hour at home some time before you travel – they will quickly learn that those items get heavy and that less really is better!
9. New skills
There are sooooo many new skills and activities your children can try out there – there really is no limit.
Every time they try something new it gives them a boost, even if they don’t particularly enjoy it! Who hasn’t given something a go and hated it only to love telling people that you tried it and why you hate it!!
We endeavour to try new things as often as we can as a family.
Aim to try at least one new thing every time you go away. If you’re feeling really adventurous why not try and experience one new thing every single day!
- new foods – insects anyone?
- water sports – kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding
- creative – pottery, basket weaving
Being exposed to different cultures teaches children that everyone is the same regardless of skin colour or religion.
You can teach your children to be accepting and excited to learn about other people and their cultures simply by being accepting and excited yourself.
Explore the differences and also the similarities between the new culture and your own. Different does not mean better or worse it literally just means different and that is great.
As the saying goes… life would be very boring if we were all the same!
Let’s face it, plans don’t often go to plan.
In those tricky situations when things aren’t going your way you adapt and make new plans.
Often these new plans can lead to surprising and interesting adventures you wouldn’t have otherwise had!
12. Remaining calm
This goes hand in hand with flexibility.
It’s ok if things don’t go to plan, it’s ok if you end up in a different place than you expected, you’re at the wrong train station, your flight is delayed or the weather isn’t as good as you’d hoped etc
One of the most important lessons of all is to teach your children to stay calm.
Thinking the problem through and finding a solution is much easier if you’re not in panic mode!
13. They can give something back
If you get the chance to volunteer, visit a conservation or help someone – take it!
This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children that THEY can make a difference.
If there aren’t any possibilities to do something with local people or organisations go ahead an make up your own.
You could scour the beach for plastic and other rubbish, collect it and dispose of it responsibly.
Alternatively your children could provide help to someone they meet or make people smile simply by being kind!
There is a lot of value in the simplest of kind gestures – holding a door for someone or simply smiling can easily brighten someones day.
14. Trying new foods
There may be times whilst travelling that there are no foods available that your children are familiar with.
Even if there are, it is a good idea to encourage your children to try something new.
By trying new foods they find out what they do/don’t like and each time they will be less resistant to new tastes.
If they take a bite and hate it at least they’ve stepped out of their comfort zone and given it a try.
Sometimes they’ll even surprise themselves by liking it!
Anyone who has ever had to wait for hours at an airport knows how hard it can be.
For children it is even more difficult but the more they experience this level of boredom the better they get at coping with it.
They learn to entertain themselves, which is a valuable skill they can use in every day life.
For everything they have at home.
Whether this comes from simply appreciating the amount of toys/activities available to them once they get back compared to what they had on holiday, or if they have had the opportunity to see children/families who have very little and it has given them a fresh perspective of how lucky they are, it is a great lesson.
It is incredibly humbling to spend time with families who have nothing and to see they are still smiling and enjoying life without a grumble.
We were lucky enough to have just such an experience in Turkey when we visited a local village school. It certainly made an impression on our girls and they came back with a different attitude.
Every now and then they’ll mention it if one of them makes a fuss about not being able to have something they want. Great lesson learnt!
17. How to make friends
When there aren’t many children around and they are missing their friends from home it is amazing how quickly children adapt and can make friends with any children they meet.
Language differences do not matter and they simply find other ways to communicate and enjoy the company of other children.
This ability to accept others will stay with them and make it easier for them to talk to new people throughout their lives.
As a bonus you may find, like we have, that if you have more than one child travelling can improve their relationships and they become more tolerant and friendly towards each other.
Moving around and going to places you’ve never been before surrounded by people that don’t understand you can be daunting for anyone but particularly for children if they are not used to it.
Travelling makes you adaptable and brave – you’re out of your comfort zone but you carry on anyway.
It gives children the opportunity to see how brave they truly are.
Learning to face and overcome their fears is a very valuable lesson indeed!
19. About themselves!
This is by far the most valuable lesson travel can teach your children.
They will find out how they feel about different situations, how they react and how they cope.
Do they love the water – Swimming in a pool, snorkelling in the ocean or playing on the beach?
Are they happiest when they are surrounded by people in the city or when alone in an isolated location.
There is just so much they will learn about themselves and it will shape who they become as they grow into adults.
So there you have it...
19 valuable lessons your children can learn from travelling.
On reflection, I think a lot of these apply to adults too!
Whether you are exploring close to home or heading further away you and your children can learn so much.
Travel is incredible isn’t it!
So are you ready to take your children to explore the world and learn all of these wonderful lessons?
Let us know in the comments below!
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