Your child is never too young to travel + see the world

It is never too early to expose children to “different.”

Your child is never too young to  travel + see the world

I am frequently told that it’s a waste of time to travel with kids because, “They won’t remember it anyways.” Parents who are more experienced than myself usually advise me to wait until our kids are older–maybe 10, 11 or 12 years?

I smile and nod politely—but the truth is I disagree.

We recently returned from our second international family vacation, this time with a 2-year-old and a baby on the way. We had an amazing trip. Any time spent with small children comes with challenges, so I would be lying if I said it was easy. But with challenges come incredible rewards.


When I was growing up in America, vacation meant going to see the world—Disney World that is.

My small Midwestern town was full of familiar and comfortable things. And as a result, I thought all-things-foreign were weird. And I had no qualms with saying it. International food consisted of the Old El Paso Taco Dinner Kit. Which was a little bit weird, but I ate it anyways. And if I spotted someone speaking a foreign language (other than the high school language teachers) I stopped, stared and may have become suspicious. Because that was weird.

Nevertheless, I was curious about the weird. I vividly remember the day in high school Spanish class when we learned about the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. What a weird name for a lake, I thought.

But I wanted to see that weird lake for myself. When I was 25 years old I pieced together a small amount of savings from my job as a social worker along with a bundle of credit card reward miles to leave the country by myself for the first time. I booked a flight to Peru with very little else planned. I was probably too stupid idealistic not to be scared.

I stayed in a $9 nightly hostel for three months and traveled the country by bus. Everything was different: the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings. And most importantly, for one of the first times in my life, I was the one that was weird. I was out of my comfort zone.

The word weird often means different. And in my adult years I have come to learn that different is good. Which is an invaluable lesson that I want to instill in my children as early as possible.

It is never too early to expose children to “different.

We know that young children thrive on routines and familiarity. But they also benefit from being exposed to “different.” To teach children that different is good, they need to experience a whole lot of different from a young age.

This can start from the very beginning of life. Research shows that at birth, babies can already distinguish between their own language and a foreign language—and they show a preference for the familiar tongue. By 7 months, infants begin to prefer familiar foods of which they have had prior experience. By 15 months, young toddlers have been found to prefer spending time with playmates of their own race.

Variety is the spice of life and I want my children to have spicy lives full of diverse languages, cuisine and people. If young children prefer familiarity, then let’s familiarize them with everything. Early experiences and memories provide the foundation for the rest of our lives.

The memories may seem to be gone but are far from forgotten.

In many ways our earliest years are the most formative.

When we remember poignant moments in our lives, we often relive them in words. Sometimes this is by talking about them aloud, or just finding the words to recall these experiences in our minds. The earliest memories we recall of childhood are often between 4-6 years old—around the time we start to speak well and have a higher grasp on language.

Prior to this time we have limited language skills, but we do still have memories. Before we have language, memories may not be stored in words but rather in our senses—tastes, sights, sounds, touches and smells. Because these very early experiences often don’t include language, we lack the words to describe them as we grow older. Even if we can’t recall these memories, early experiences remain cemented into our lives to become a large part of who we are as adults.

Travel is full of sensory experiences.

Long before young children develop the ability to retrieve memories, they can eagerly experience life through their senses. While in Peru, I felt the softness of baby alpaca fur. I tasted the delicacy of fried guinea pig. I saw Lake Titicaca. I experienced the shock of being inappropriately grabbed by a strange man on the street. I smelled the primitive irrigation system that only allowed me to flush the toilet until noon each day. And I embraced the love of my life when he visited and surprised me with a marriage proposal on the side of a muddy, ancient mountain trail.

When we travel we expose ourselves to new sights, new vulnerabilities, and new experiences.

I want my children to realize that most people in the world speak languages other than English. And most people in the world have skin that looks different from their own. And although different, these people are inherently good. Because different is good.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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