Travelling not only does wonders to your mind but can also be one of the most efficient teachers your kids will come across. We have curated a list of valuable lessons children learn from travelling to encourage you to take more trips with them.
Travelling is just like attending school; only the lessons are out of the classroom and more real in nature. For example, children helping to navigate from one destination to the next, or even through the various sections of an airport, learn how to find the way, decode symbols and start again if they are lost. Travelling is also a great way to feed their curiosity, making kids more creative. It encourages critical thinking which helps them grow into to well-balanced adults. Travelling also introduces them to the thrill of taking up new challenges that is a valuable lesson for children growing up in today’s ever-changing, exciting world loaded with new possibilities.
Exposure to the new
There is a whole new world out there, beyond the familiarity of home. People, places and cultures – the world never ceases to engage an inquisitive mind. Children who travel will learn diversity in people, the exploration of new places and the charm of different cultures. Every part of the day, from ordering a meal with unfamiliar ingredients through an attendant who speaks a different language, to figuring out the local terms for the basics, are unparalleled experiences you can provide your child. While travelling with your kids, you will be amazed to see how soon they learn new things and adapt to diverse settings.
The value of responsibility
Responsibility, also known as initiation into the real world, is something that can be learnt only through experience. The first rule of becoming responsible is stepping out of your comfort zone, and that happens in a big way during travel. Children learn both small and big things that lead to responsibility like handling and managing finances, sharing with siblings and the larger group they are travelling with, and even basics like packing and unpacking. Applying young brains to a job like being responsible for their backpack or being the explorer-in-chief during a trek teaches responsibility like no parental lecture can.
Expecting the unexpected
Pull kids out of their regimented routine and throw them into a trip with a fluid itinerary. With changes in plans, moody pick-up drivers, and eat-when-you-feel-hungry in the mix, children learn to get surprised, become resilient, adjust and eventually become flexible. Being flexible is a huge plus point in life, and not something that can be learnt off a school text book. So, the next time you draw up your travel itinerary, make sure to leave some blanks that promise to make the creative juices flow.
The magic of minimalism
When you are travelling, you are pulling your own weight, literally. Teach the brood to pack light. This has a two-pronged benefit. The obvious one and an imperative lesson, is that there is lesser weight to drag around. The second one is equally important, though a little obtuse. Your children, after learning to pack for themselves, will learn the value of each article they add, its use during the trip and also the art of multi-use. Pack light and learn to make do with what you have. A philosophy of life, some would say.
The gift of self-confidence
Self-confidence is not something that can be taught, it has to be imbibed. What better than a dollop of ‘figure it out on your own’ travel experiences to build the foundation for a strong, analytical mind? Everyday activities such as asking for directions when lost, struggling to make yourself understood in a foreign language, asking the retail shop owner if he has your size, meeting and accepting new people and forming transient relationships boost the confidence of formative minds in an unmatched manner.
The quality of tolerance
If there is one thing that the new generation should learn, it is accepting people different from themselves. Travelling around and exposing your children to the world and its diversity is the easiest way to teach them that. Once children realise that we are all essentially the same, they will react to a hostile political stimulus in a peaceful and accepting manner. New slogan: Travel with kids and smooth out all the creases in the world!
Cuisines, languages and history
The obvious lessons of travel – developing a taste for new cuisines, trying out different languages and taking a dip into the history of another part of the world – is an education that stays with you for a lifetime. This is the kind of stuff that prepares you for the future, for a life with the ‘one world’ concept. With each trip, you are creating a global citizen who is eager, inquisitive, patient, tolerant and confident. Find a finishing school that offers half of this!
The skill of surviving boredom
This is not a joke; in fact, it is possibly the most important lesson of them all. Today’s gadget-ruled world, with its instant gratification policies, is making boredom obsolete. This is a huge problem when it comes to getting kids to learn the art of patience. Standing in long queues at the airport, waiting for taxis, and surviving lengthy drives are all lessons in dealing with boredom and becoming patient, but only if you leave those gadgets behind.
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