They say that travel broadens the mind, but while the beneficial effects of travelling on adults is well known, many people are unsure about whether this also applies to children.
It is common to find parents wondering whether it is a good idea to take their children on long trips or even to move abroad on a permanent basis.
While it is important to consider the practicalities of traveling with children, and to ensure that they are safe and supported throughout, the evidence is clear that traveling can have a positive effect on children in a number of ways.
The greatest benefits of traveling with children are enjoyed by families who relocate abroad. That is obviously a significant undertaking, however, when families relocate abroad, it can help the children to develop in a variety of positive ways. Perhaps the most important impact of moving abroad with children is apparent in their education, particularly if the country they are moving to is able to offer a world-class international school. Such a school can help a child to quickly adapt to their new environment, develop some resilience, and have a greater understanding of the world, while also benefiting from a world class education.
But you don’t have to relocate abroad to give your children the benefits of travel. Even a short break can offer a significant boost to their wellbeing. By changing their surroundings for a few days, you can stimulate various parts of your child’s brain, including those associated with attention span, learning capacity and stress regulation. And, since travelling is an opportunity for adults to leave their work behind, it can also enable you to spend valuable quality time with your children, strengthening your family bond and helping them feel more secure.
Travel can also help children reach their developmental milestones. Children are constantly learning from their environment, and by exposing them to new sights, sounds and languages, you can help stimulate their brains in multiple ways.
The practicalities of travel can also help your children become more adaptable to circumstances. Their environment is constantly changing, particularly if you travel for longer distances or move abroad for a few months. This teaches them to become more flexible and less fixed in their habits, which is good for their resilience, and later on it will help them to become self-reliant as young adults more quickly than children who have not experienced travel.
By taking your children with you when you travel, you can instill in them a love for adventure, an interest in other cultures, languages and ways of life, or perhaps an enthusiasm for geography and a desire to learn more about the world around them. These are all desirable character traits that can enrich a child’s life and understanding and help to lay the foundations for their life as adults. The evidence is clear: traveling can have a range of positive impacts on children, whether you are moving to live abroad or just taking a weekend vacation.