Raising a child with a passion to explore not only the backyard but also the in the world is one of the best gifts a parent can give their children. Creating a home environment that inspires curiosity and wonder while welcoming children into the travel planning process can help turn them into aspiring adventurers.
Here are a few tips for raising children to love travel:
TELL THEM YOUR TRAVEL STORIES
Children love stories, and even more so want to hear stories from their families as they were growing up. You may see eyeballs being rolled. But, inside they are listening and loving every word said. Parents can show photos and share laughs as they tell tales about their past vacations. My children probably heard the camping story about my new brand name shoe I put to dry on the fire pir, or the bear by the camper; the one I grabbed the boat steering wheel… to many times to mention. These stories are captivating to our children. They inspire curiosity, wonder, and fun. Children will gain an interest in creating their own stories. Dream of adventures they want to go on, and that excitement will inspire exploration.
INTRODUCE THE WORLD AT HOME
Even if that vacation is not in the budget currently, parents can still inspire excitement for exploration. Simply by filling the home with maps, globes, puzzles, and books that inspire wanderlust introduces even the youngest adventurer to the world. Talk about places on the map, give children a map to follow along on even short road trips. Do puzzles of the world, landmarks, or favorite destinations. These days we have the internet with thousands of videos of marvelous places for your young globetrotter to watch and learn about. Subscription boxes that send a different location each month adds interaction with far off places. Attending cultural performances and events or attending local festivals is a way to experience new things while staying close to home with such exciting ways to learn about the world those little travelers will be on the way to new destinations.
GET THEIR INPUT
Children love being part of the decision-making process. When considering travel plans, parents might call a family meeting to discuss places to visit and activities to do while there.
Tailoring these trips, whether it be a short-day trip or long vacation, to the interests of the children will give them a sense of ownership over the vacation. Kids will feel excited and all grown up knowing they had a part in making some important decisions in the vacation planning.
Remember trips do not have to be a big major event to be memorable. Sometimes, I think the most exciting part of field trips at school may be the bus ride to the destination. Have you ever asked you childrent about a field trip and all they remember is the school bus ride? The fun of a hotel stay and swimming in a pool, the action of interactive museum displays, or the excitement of a near-by waterpark or zoo are special occasions to children.
DOCUMENT THE TRIP
The most special part of traveling together is the memories made as a family, so documenting the trip through photographs, artwork, or journaling is a perfect way to reminisce later. Giving the children access to an inexpensive camera gives them control of memories they want to share (ignore the many photos of the sky and ground, selfies, or mom and dad making a terrible face….) When they see the photos, they took themselves the excitement in their eyes says it all. Of course, you can always share your phone camera for that instant gratification but print them out when you get home to look back on in a scrapbook or photobook.
Drawing pictures of a favorite part of the day each night is a great way to start journaling. Parents, make sure you write on the back what the picture represents; so, the future you can remember exactly what the drawing represents. As children get older buy a journal for each vacation that they can write in each day.
Make a family scrapbook with memories, photos, and memorabilia (don’t forget fun stickers-maybe from the destination) from the vacation is a fun activity after returning home. It is always joyful revisiting these vacations through photos and journals. Families and children are reminded of the fun the family shared together and fosters excitement for more travel in the future.
Travel teaches children about themselves; it takes them out of a normality of their comfort zone into the unknown. It can show them how people live in other areas of the World.
For parents who love to travel it is important to install this passion into their children. We live in a vast world get out with your family and explore it wildly!