Traveling with kids entails careful planning and patience — lots of it — but it’s been proven to have positive benefits for your little ones. Aside from serving as “happiness anchors” until they grow up, kids value experiences more than material gifts. Even the most stressful trips can be the most memorable ones! As it turns out, traveling may also make them more successful in school, if this U.S. study is to be believed.
According to a survey commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA), a non-profit organization that caters to student and youth travel service providers, 74% of the 1,500 US-based teachers they interviewed believed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development,” Travel + Leisure reports. Fifty six percent of them also agree that “travel has a very positive impact on students’ education and career.”
Not only will travel provide an opportunity for children to learn more about different cultures, it will also allow young people to engage in communities that are outside of their usual environment. As the teachers have observed, students who have had the chance to travel are more respectful, tolerant, and willing to learn and try new things. It prompts a transformation where students grow their ambitions to know, learn, and explore, according to the SYTA report.
Traveling’s positive benefits also go beyond the classroom. When it comes to social interactions, well-traveled kids display increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence. They have better adaptability and sensitivity to others, plus they were also more outgoing than kids who stayed at home.
If you’re feeling pressured to travel out of the country just to reap these benefits, the survey notes that shorter trip durations and travel distances doesn’t reduce the impact of the experience on the children. So whether it’s just a hotel staycation, a road trip to the South, or a short trip to other parts of the Philippines, you’re still giving your child a head start on learning and understanding.
“What is less widely known is that holidays can also advance brain development in children,” Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychotherapist and director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health in the UK, says in another article for The Telegraph.
When you go exploring during a family vacation, whether it’s in nature or a heritage town, you activate many critical areas of the brain, particularly the “play and seeking systems” that typically go unexercised at home, says Dr. Sunderland. “[This] brings about brain growth and maturation in the frontal lobes, the very part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence, and well-focused, goal-directed behaviors that may last a lifetime.”
If another reason for postponing that trip you’ve always wanted to take is that your toddlers won’t remember it anyway, experts say don’t doubt your kids — they will remember.
“While the rate of forgetting starts to slow at age 7, kids can remember salient moments farther than we think,” explains Dr. Carole Peterson, University Research Professor at Memorial University in the US, to The Globe and Mail. “My own son’s first memory was from the age of 22 months. Children who are age 2 often remember pieces, 3-year-olds have a lot of memory, and 4- and 5-year-olds certainly do.”
By traveling with kids, you’re giving them lots of opportunities to realize how capable they are, says Julie Freedman Smith, a parenting expert and co-founder of Parenting Power, in the same report. “When a child is between the ages of 0 to 6, so much of who they are is made up of what they can do.”
So start your year right and plan your 2019 holidays and long weekends starting now. The positive benefits it will bring to your kids, not to mention the unforgettable memories, is well worth it.