No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, the chances are that you find yourself needing to get away every once in a while. Spending your holiday days off work treating yourself to some “you time” around the house is one thing (unless you happen to be a freelancer, for whom paid holidays are but a distant memory), but taking yourself somewhere new for a change of scenery is quite another. A local trip somewhere cool is great. But leaving your hometown and even the country help you to put some physical and psychological distance between the quotidian trials and challenges which can conspire to drag us down and rob us of that internal sunshine that makes us who we are.
Yet, as much as we adults benefit from travelling overseas, our kids get even more out of it. Taking them abroad while they’re young can help them to grow into more rounded, cultured and happy adults. The more time you can spend in different countries and locales with your kids, the better. You may not be able to think “Hmmm, what’s the rental value of my house” and let it out for a few months while you travel the world. That said, can you think of a more enticing family adventure without worrying about how your mortgage is getting paid? Nonetheless, even a week or two here and there can benefit your children in a number of ways, including…
They become less fussy eaters
It’s acutely frustrating when you try to fill your kids’ plates with a rainbow of delicious and nutritious foods… But they can muster little enthusiasm for anything that isn’t beige! Nonetheless, international travel is a great antidote to fussy eating kids. Veer them away from familiar outlets like McDonald’s (which are literally everywhere) and towards immersing themselves in a new world of scents and tastes. When they return home, they’ll be bringing a more sophisticated palate with them.
They develop more intellectual curiosity
It’s hard to inspire a genuine love of learning within kids. However, this can be sparked when kids are conditioned to become intellectually curious; to want to learn more about how the world works. Being plunged into unfamiliar surroundings takes kids out of their comfort zones and gets them curious about their surroundings, encouraging them to ask questions and find answers for themselves. This is an inclination that they may well bring back home with them.
They become more outgoing
Kids have a natural inclination to hide behind their mothers’ skirts (usually metaphorically) and shy away from strangers. Travelling overseas gets them more used to interacting with people from different backgrounds, helping them to realise that (to paraphrase Harper Lee) people tend to be people no matter where you put them. This can make them less shy, more outgoing and more eager to interact with others.
They become open to other cultures and ethnicities
Finally… Children benefit from interacting with people from other cultures and ethnicities, especially at a young age. They can come to appreciate that there’s beauty in the unfamiliar and that closing yourself off from the unfamiliar leads to fear and mistrust… Two things we really don’t need given the current state of international politics.
This is a contributed post.