Whether you are an experienced jet-setter or are considering
your first weekend road trip, there is no better reason to travel than to experience
a new way of life with someone you love—your child included.
It doesn't have to be exotic or far away. Even a
nearby city can add a new dimension to your understanding of life.
I've heard all the reasons why I'm a little crazy
to travel with my toddler. Funny enough, the more reasons I hear not to, the
more convinced I am that traveling with my tot in tow is not only good for him,
but good for me.
The next time you get the itch for an adventure (big or small), ignore the naysayers and pack your bags, mama!
The truth is, none of those gloomy “reasons" to stay put hold any water.
"But your child won't even remember it!"
Sure, some vacations can be pricey…and when a
child probably won't remember it a few years later, what's the point?
It's true, older children and adults may not have explicit
memories of their first three years of life, but that doesn't mean early life
experiences are for naught.
suggests that children remember early experiences until around the age of seven
and that they use these memories as a means of forming language and making
sense of the world.
What better way to make sense of life and develop a strong foundation for language than by exploring more than just one little corner of the world?
Even as adults, we may not even remember the
specifics of some of our most remarkable life experiences. But we remember the feeling that experience filled us with.
If you are still in doubt, take along a travel diary
or your trusty camera! Reminiscing with your child years later about their
adventurous childhood will be a wonderful way to maintain an emotional
connection with your increasingly independent child.
If the trip was special for you and your tot, you
might be surprised at how much your child remembers.
"But it won't be any fun now that you have to take care of your child the whole time."
This must be the biggest myth of traveling. If you
enjoy seeing the world, nothing has to change when you have kids.
Sure, it may be a different style or different pace
than vacations taken BC (before children), but in some ways, it can be even
You get to explore different aspects of new places (hello, sand castles, zoos, parks, and
Plus, you can see new
sights through the eyes of your awe-struck child. Even mundane aspects of
travel, like taking trains, are suddenly interesting…All aboard!
"But, is it safe to surround you and your child with unfamiliar languages, cultures, and foods?"
I'm not saying you should travel somewhere you don't
feel comfortable taking your child. I had a wonderful time visiting Bali before
my son was born, but I don't know that I am quite ready to re-visit the conniving monkeys and terrifying traffic with my toddler just yet. ?
But, as long as you feel comfortable and safe with
your travel destination, exposure to new cultures, languages, and foods is one
of the most rewarding aspects of travel!
These new experiences can implicitly open your child's
mind to understanding other ways of life. They will undoubtedly allow your
child to grow up with a more open mind and heart.
It's true what they say.
The world is abook and those who do not travel read onlySt. Augustine
"But, wouldn't it just be easier to wait until your child is older?"
Would you wait to expose your child to music, art,
or language, just because it's easier for them to understand when they are
older? A child's understanding of something new has to begin somewhere.
Traveling early with your child allows it to become
a routine part of life—one much easier to adapt to at an early age.
Traveling can be intimidating. It can even be a
little scary if you aren't accustomed to it. Sleeping in a different bed,
meeting new people, and seeing new sights can be overwhelming if you don't have
much experience with it.
But, babies aren't set in their ways—and they don't know
to be afraid of travel yet. That means there is no better time to foster a true
love of adventure in your little one than right now.
Plus, if you wait too long, it won't just be your
child that finds it difficult to adjust—it will be you, too! There's
no better way to hone your own travel skills than by practicing them.
"But, will it even be any fun for your child? What about their daily routine?"
Routine, schmoutine! Just like adults, children need
a change of pace once in a while, too! Trying something new can make us
appreciate the consistent features of life waiting for us back home.
Plus, if you feel like you and your child are in a
bit of a relational rut at the moment (thanks,
teething, tantrums, and time-outs!) a trip together may be just the ticket to strengthen
your emotional connection.
From eating gelato to swimming in new oceans,
your child will have a blast.
So your tot misses a nap or two. It won't take long
to get back on schedule once you are home—and the experience gained will be
soooo worth the missed sleep.
Just catch a few zzz's on the ride home and don't
sweat the rest!
Bon voyage, mama!