Often times we must decide whether our dream vacation has room for the kids or if they, and us, are better off sending the kids to stay with Grandma. There are many times you should vacation alone and reconnect as a couple and often times you choose this too because of expense or a complicated itinerary. But those who take the extra time to plan and include their children will have an infinitely enriched experience, producing life-long memories.
Family time– American children are over scheduled with school activities, sports, and parties. They need to recharge and relax as much as, or more than adults sometimes. Parents also find it hard to have quality family time with the kids running in all directions. A vacation together gives you all a chance to slow down and catch up with one another. Imagine just lying on a beach with your teenage daughter and she actually talks to you about her friends. Imagine having dinner together every night and talking about your day. Imagine your child holding your hand as you stroll through a quaint village or store. We need to slow down and spend time together.
Experience the world through a child’s eyes– your ideal view of Paris may include museums and fine dining. Your children may enjoy the same but most likely they will allow you to see more of the real city. Travelling with children forces you to seek out interesting things for them and in doing so, you see things you may have never put on your list. Without kids in tow, you may never have found the amazing park and gardens that you enjoyed as much as they did. By looking for a kid’s menu , you may try a restaurant that was not on your radar, but end up with a fantastic meal at a local undiscovered gem. And in looking at art, you may over analyze it while your son tells you why it is pretty and you begin to see it through his eyes. Children also make friends very easily and will readily talk to locals.
Expose your children to a bigger world– good parents prepare their children for the world. You give them tools and lessons for survival and growth. By exposing them to travel, they become more comfortable with the world. You also instill a sense of curiosity and wonder. Having a real sense of how things are in other parts of the world can help them in school, work and just their everyday conversations.
Traveling with children can be tricky. You have to plan more, pack more , and spend more. But the return on the investment you make will pay off immensely. My children learn and experience new things on our vacations and I truly love that they have such good memories. Each time they recall a detail from a past trip it tugs at my heartstrings and I know it was worth it.