My son is one of the few lucky children I know who has travelled to many places early on and I for one have seen it benefit him immensely. Leas of which I think travels have long term impact on kids and how they evolve as they grow including:
- Creative thinking in figuring out how to solve problems outside your comfort zone
- Being outside your comfort zone
- Open to new cultures, food, and mannerisms
- Appreciation of different natural features and beauty
- Realizing people are all the same with many things in common
- Experiencing different emotions and verbally expressing them
- Getting a sense of how to deal with pressure (i.e. if you get lost or loose something)
It’s endless really, and he’s been fortunate enough to go to places most parents wouldn’t take their kids, especially in Asia (although I was this close to take him to Africa before his mother vetoed that decision – she admitted being wrong later!). One thing I do when I travel is to keep journals which you can read, and so I thought I would pass on that habit to my son and as soon as he was old enough to write a coherent journal I made him do one on every trip. Well at first I made him but after that he was initiating it himself. It’s a great way to review the trip at the end of each day while we are on vacation, and he found himself reading his old journals when we got home remembering all the great things he did. This is much more effective than going through photo albums alone (I make it a point to make photobooks of my travels as well).
It all started with our trip to China. I print out photos for him, he does a page a day most of the time (two if very eventful and skips a day if not much else is happening, but not more than a day). I use a small photo printer (Sprocket) that my wife gave me for my birthday after we choose together the “photo of the day”. It’s really all there is to it, a sketchpad, crayons, a pencil and my sprocket. It has made a big difference on our trips with him. It made him among other things:
- More attentive on our trip so that he can write something by the end of the day
- Appreciate photography and taking visual reminders
- Express how he felt during certain days (he writes on the good stuff and the bad)
- Improve his writing style
- A great safe keep for him in the future of all the places he’s seen, will be a great trigger for him in the future on remembering some of the key things
He loves his journal and looks back on it at least monthly (at this point he has four recorded trips. He even asked if he can present it in school (he did China but wasn’t allowed for the others, thanks School system!). But I highly recommend those travelling parents to start this early and you’ll see how much they will love it, at first it’ll be a chore for them but after they’ll be doing it without you even realising it.