Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Trevor McDonald
Children soak up so much growing up, from the mannerisms of their parents to ideas from other kids at school, to cultural experiences, and learning opportunities. I believe that exposing your children to travel while they’re young helps them understand intercultural communication, take responsibility for their actions, learn how to ask questions, and gain an appreciation for their own lives and family.
Travel Helps Children Communicate
Too often, our kids have their noses stuck in a tablet or phone. Their communication skills go downhill. School and extracurricular activities are a great way for kids to learn how to communicate with others their age on common topics, but travel helps them learn how other cultures communicate and the importance of understanding another person’s point of view.
For example, North America is an individualistic society. We are motivated by doing and what we will receive out of an interaction. In contrast, most of Asia is a collectivist society and focuses more on how actions will affect the community as a whole. For a child that has only experienced one or the other, it can be hard to understand where another person from the other culture is coming from. But, exposure to these many different communication facets through travel is invaluable, and one of the reasons why I exposed my children to travel at a young age.
Travel Helps Children Learn Responsibility
There are a lot of things to learn when you travel. Whenever I travel with my kids, I have them pack their own suitcase, so they learn how to pack responsibly and include everything they’ll need. I also have them take responsibility for their things as we travel so if they leave something behind, it’s their responsibility. This is a great way to teach kids how to take care of their stuff. Travel provides many chances for taking on responsibility.
Travel Teaches Children How to Ask Questions
I am passionate about travel and my children are becoming passionate about seeing new things, as well. I love taking them along because they are learning how to ask questions and learn about the new cultures we’re experiencing. They have learned how to ask about a person’s customs, background, and things they like to do in a fun and inquisitive way.
Need some ideas on how to spark your child’s curiosity? Have them propose some or all of the questions below to start a conversation:
- How long have you lived in (city/country)?
- What is your favorite part of living here?
- What is your least favorite?
- What do you do here for fun?
- What do you eat for dinner?
- What part of the world is this (country)? Bonus points if you pull out the globe and point out where you are.
Travel Teaches Children Appreciation and Gratitude
I strongly believe that when children are secluded to their own way of life, they don’t appreciate how good they have it. For example, traveling to a third world country with young children might seem like a headache (and maybe even dangerous), but in reality, it’s great way to show children how various cultures live and encourage them to be grateful for what they have. Children might take fresh drinking water, heat and air conditioning, a car, and a place to sleep for granted, but traveling helps show them that these luxuries aren’t a given for the majority of people in this world.
Travel helps broaden a child’s experience and teaches them responsibility, curiosity, communication, appreciation, and gratitude.
Whether you are just taking a road trip throughout the United States (make sure you have your routine car maintenance performed before you hit the road to avoid any surprises!) or are traveling halfway around the world, getting out of your comfort zone and routine can really benefit your children. Plus, the whole family will have fun traveling together!
Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic” who you can find via Twitter. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his love of travel with his family. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or spending time with his kids.