I’ve heard it said a dozen times, “Why would you travel to _____ when your kids are so little, they won’t remember.”
I get it, I do. We question whether the investment is worth the result. I’m not sure what gratification we expect from the result but we hope that the money spent equals happiness and fun, and sometimes when you’re traveling with small children there is a lot of drudgery and chaos (just being real, here).
Do you do a nighttime routine with your children? Do you read books and take them to Storytime at the library? Let them play t-ball or take dance classes? Will these things foster growth and learning in your child? Absolutely! Will they remember them all? Probably not.
Travel with toddlers and young children is not easy. But even if our kids do not remember, we can still make the investment. Barbara Bush said, “Memories make a fine cushion for old age.” Things your little ones do while traveling will add a sweet spot to your empty nest years.
While traveling with children requires much work, it is better than being at home
Is traveling with children worth the work it requires? You know what is more work for me? Staying home and cooking meals and cleaning up THREE TIMES A DAY! Haha.
Yes, there is a lot of work involved in the preparation for traveling with children: making sure all of the laundry is finished, preparing food for the road, and planning itineraries and hotels. BUT, even on a busy vacation, you’ll get to eat out more often or someone else will make your bed! To me, that is worth the work it takes before and after the trip!
I have to admit I am looking at this from the perspective of a stay-at-home Mom. I don’t leave the house much unless we are going to kids’ activities or visiting family, so I look forward to getting away either with or without the kids.
Travel affords children the chance to see that the world is a big, diverse place
I grew up in a very small town. There was no racial diversity, no homelessness, and the biggest building was the courthouse. Our kids will only know what we show them. Just like character, we can talk until we are blue in the face, but children learn from our actions. Travel creates an opportunity for kids to see life from a different perspective. This may not mean flying to Africa, it may be driving to the other end of town or the closest major city.
Unfortunately, we have yet to really tackle these issues as a family. (The closest we came was addressing the homelessness of New Orleans, yet they were still so young). Once our children are a little older, we hope to do service-oriented travel and show them poorer areas of the world, where government benefits and a value for life don’t really exist. We have Compassion children that we would love to visit. Our children’s generation is often referred to as “the entitlement generation” and we don’t want our children to think that the entire world lives like our little corner of suburbia.
Travel now while they still want to be seen with you – lol
Right now our children are young and needy, but someday they will be teens! Soon vacation won’t be about getting them to sit still, but about getting them to look up from their iPhone. Travel with your children now to instill the value of family fun and togetherness before they are 10 and have never been out of state!
Tips for dealing with travel and screen-time HERE
It seems like everyone I know that has older children has had a better experience when mom and dad have already spent tons of hours on the road with the kids. There isn’t that awkwardness of “Ok, now are going to try to be together for a week and not kill each other.” In other words, begin a routine now, even if it’s just short-term travel, and the benefits will be longstanding.
Lastly, once your children hit middle school and high school, most families find that their calendar is dictated completed by the children’s extracurriculars. You may want to get away, but find that the schedule is already inundated with activity. Traveling while they are young makes sure that you don’t miss out on valuable family time.
Can you think of any other reasons you should travel with your children will they are still little? Do you have any favorite family memories from your travel? Maybe you did take your children to a third world country- how did they react?