If you travel often, leaving your children behind may not always be in their best interests.
When raising children, it is important to encourage a global mindset, especially for those parents who are inherently more worldly. Bringing children on trips across the globe can be extremely tedious as they may not be as intellectually inclined when it comes to exploring new cultures.
Just the thought may leave you inclined to call a family member to come babysit, but do not fret – there are plenty of ways to make it work while also being extremely exciting for your kids.
Listed below are five useful tips that could help improve your travelling experience for you and you child.
1. Promote Imaginative Playtime
When travelling, your children’s surroundings will be new to them – this allows for creative thinking and exercise. Depending on how far across the globe you have travelled with your child, the culture may be extremely different and surprising to them.
These variables will inevitably influence your child’s field of imaginative play, allowing for an increased sense of wonder.
It is important you encourage this play, as imagination is crucial for proper development and critical thinking later in life.
Bring your children to local parks in order for them to get some energy out, as such play may not always be appropriate for museums, restaurants, hotel lobbies, and historical landmarks.
Enforcing rules as to how “engaged” your child is allowed to be when in public is also important, as it will save you the embarrassment and them the risk of hurting themselves or getting lost.
2. Play Fun Educational Games
Whenever possible, try to play educational games with your children. Teaching your children about the history, geography, and culture of the new place your family is exploring will not only educate them, but it may excite their interest in the new land in which they roam.
Try to make up games as you go along, whether it’s on the train, in a taxi, at a restaurant, or within your hotel room. Stimulate their noggin’ with fill in the blank questions, rewarding them with a desert or a toy once they have reached a certain amount of points.
You’d be surprised how powerful a child’s memory is!
3. Bring Books For Your Child to Read
Given their age, bringing a literary novel or two may be a great use of their spare time. There are times where you and your family may be commuting from city to city within a foreign country, leaving your children with several hours to spare.
It can be fun for your child to read a book with a plot within the new place you and your family are venturing to – it allows them to engage in a world not only within their realm, but within the realm of a fantasy.
Stressing the importance of reading literature is extremely useful for your children – they grow up with a more elaborate vocabulary as well as a better understanding of a variety of topics, depending on the books they have read.
4. Take Your Child to Museums and Historical Landmarks
Museums and historical landmarks are rich in information. Depending on your child’s age, it is possible that they could really enjoy a visit to a museum, as it can be extremely engaging and visually stimulating.
By bringing your child to historical landmarks it exposes them to the reality of war, culture, perspective, design, accomplishments, and so on. Not only would you be promoting their curiosity, but their desire to learn about things beyond the culture and land they identify with.
Engage in conversation with them when exploring these sites – inform them of the background story. Chances are they will retain the information as hands-on learning is far more effective.
5. Encourage Your Child to Learn some of the Language
Immersing yourself in a country in which the language is new to you can be extremely intimidating. Chances are, you may run into someone who doesn’t speak english when you’re in dire need of directions to the nearest restroom.
It is recommended that we at least pick up on some of the everyday phrases before embarking on our journey – so why not suggest such a task to your children?
Tackling new languages at an early age has been proven to significantly improve cognitive skills. Your children will be able to practice phrases with both you and foreign friends (at a local playground, lets say). Not only does this allow them to expand their linguistic capabilities, but it also allows them the opportunity to befriend local children, making international buddies at an early age. That’s something worth bragging about!
Keep in mind that there is more to it that just these five tips – the manners in which one can learn is endless, as are the advantages that come with it.
With your younger ones especially, it can become frustrating as they may be agitated with all the exploring and unfamiliar faces and places. Keeping a cool head – practicing patience is key. For your older kids, try to keep the topics entertaining – they may not take a liking for a 17th century political history museum.
Your children will grow to live their own lives one day. It is important to encourage them to continue travelling and learning about their differences from others, immersing themselves in cultures strange to them, temporarily fleeing their comfort zones as it is the only opportunity to grow.
By allowing your children the head start at an early age, it is likely that they will work hard in order to allow themselves the same opportunities to travel the world and live globally, soaking up as much information as they possibly can.
Remind them that the world offers us all endless amounts of opportunity to grow and form powerful relationships with people of all creeds and colours.
Aim to raise a citizen of the world, as these memories as children will be powerful indicators as to whether they will pursue travelling when they grow up.
At Harmony we believe everyone should have a well rounded education; and exposure to new experiences like travel is extremely rewarding for both parents and their children. Please contact us to schedule a meeting or book a tour to see if our holistic approach to early learning is the right fit for your child!