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Twelve Great Lessons to Teach your Kids on Travels

Being a travelling family can be the most exciting, rewarding and educational experience for all of you. Here we give you ten lessons that you can teach your kids, that will take them right through life.

Planning Skills

Half the fun of a trip lies in planning it. So get the kids involved. Search the internet and let them have a play. Let them look up the best places for kids to go at your destination. Turn them into a trip detective, to find some awesome places to go. Getting them in on the action of the planning process also introduces them to brainstorming and critical thinking. But ultimately, it increases their self-worth as they feel they are a part of the decision making process.

Nurture their curiosity

Half the fun of a trip lies in planning it. So get the kids involved. Search the internet and let them have a play. Let them look up the best places for kids to go at your destination. Turn them into a trip detective, to find some awesome places to go. Getting them in on the action of the planning process also introduces them to brainstorming and critical thinking. But ultimately, it increases their self-worth as they feel they are a part of the decision making process.

Eye-opening experiences like travel will make your kids ask questions and that is a sign of a curious mind. You can only encourage them to think and imagine critically. While you’re out and about ask them questions, and soon they’ll be doing the same.

Wouldn’t it be awesome for every school curriculum to have travel built in as a compulsory activity? A simple thing like understanding how children live in other parts of the world broadens their outlook immediately. But they’re certainly not going to get that from any travel programme. Kids exposed to foreign cultures from an early age, and even age appropriate volunteering, will probably land up doing this when they’re older. They could be part of a multicultural global workplace in the future, and could slip right in without experiencing culture shock. And even more importantly, they can grow up to be good global citizens.

Empathy

In today’s fast paced, selfie and self-absorbed world, it’s important to teach children how to reach out and empathise with other people or even animals. A recent study at Harvard showed that “kids may value academic achievement and individual happiness over caring for others.” Now that’s a bit frightening.

But, empathy isn’t just kindness; it is the fact that kids recognise the emotions and feelings of another human being within themselves.

How can you teach empathy? A great way is through volunteering, whether it’s at a local school, soup kitchen, animal shelter or even an old age home. Remember to walk the walk and talk the talk. Show your kids how you empathise with others.

Take photos, but make memories

Let’s face it, when we’re travelling, we probably have three cameras on us at all times; our state of the art long lens camera, a tablet and our phones. When we watch a whale launch itself out of the ocean, we grab at the nearest camera to record this magnificent event, and all the while, we miss out on the sounds and sometime smells of such events.

No matter where you travel, make sure to take lots of photos, but don’t forget to put the camera away and take in your surroundings. After all, that is what makes a story interesting. Walking in a game park, it is the sense of the brushes rubbing up against your legs, the smell of the animals and the sounds of the beetles that will be the soundtrack to your memories.

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Keep a record of your adventures

Travelling can be intense, especially when there are lots of adventures packed into one day. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what happened when, and sometimes, that it ever happened at all. It’s a great idea to keep a travel journal; a place to record all those memories in. Paste ticket stubs, till slips and dried leaves next to drawn pictures and hand-written notes. Write about the experiences that you had, for example when you saw that whale launched out of the ocean. Ask your hosts to write a short message about the surrounding areas. When you get home, develop and get those photos in the book as well.

Not only is it a great way to teach children how cherish each moment, but it is also a great way to preserve memories for later in life. They can take a look back on it in a couple of years and feel the experiences all over again.

Eat healthy

Healthy eating might sound a touch boring, especially when you’re travelling, but not only is this a great lesson in life, but it also gives kids a sense of well-being while you’re out and about. Don’t think of healthy eating as dull; use it as an opportunity to sample local fruits, vegetables and herbs. Try and sample local, healthy cuisine, to expose your kids to new tastes and experiences. Plus, it’s often the fast food that leads to upset stomachs during your travels. There is always a way to eat healthily while you’re on your travels.

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Give each child a special responsibility on your trip

You can teach your kids all about responsibility by giving each of them an age-appropriate and important task while travelling. For example, one child can be responsible to make sure everything’s in the backpack that you need, the other child can make sure you’ve got keys and that the lights are switched off when you leave where you’re staying, or they could be in charge of the cameras, or the iPads. Perhaps let one of them be in charge of travel documents in their own luggage, they can be copies and you can keep the originals. The opportunities are endless.

How to use a map

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Give your child a detailed, map of the area you’re visiting. Using the map while walking or driving around will give your child a sense of direction and special awareness and also, should anything happen, they will know how to return to their accommodation. The map can also be pasted in their travel diary after the trip. You can also use maps and GPS trackers if you’re hiking, this can also give them a great sense of direction.

How to be safe

When you’re travelling it’s always good to have a plan as to how everyone is going to keep safe. Before you go, play the ‘what if’ game. If you get lost, what should you do? If someone offers you food or candy, what should you do? If someone you don’t know takes your hand and starts walking away with you, what should you do? If someone tries to talk to you and you don’t want to, what should you do? Spin as many scenarios as you can and go over them frequently. Another thing you can do it to teach your kids to find the nearest police station. You can also create a ‘safe word’ and if your kids come across somebody random who says their parents have asked them to pick them up, they need to ask for the safe word. If they don’t know it, they need to move on. You can also create a meeting place. Wherever you are for the day, look around and decide where the meeting place is. If someone gets lost then that’s where everyone should head.

Learn to greet someone in their language

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Bonjour, sawubona, ciao. There is no greater sign of respect, than greeting someone in their native tongue. This is also a fun activity for travelling kids. They come home with a greater sense of a culture, as well as being able to speak a cool new language. It’s highly beneficial in our globalised world for kids to be able to speak more than one language. Children who speak more than one language also tend to be creative thinkers, engage more with a different culture and stay sharp as they age. You can start small, with just greetings, and add on from there.

It’s not about what you pack, it’s about what you bring back

Should the whole Lego set come along on the trip? Letting kids pack for their trip is important to develop their sense of independence, but those little extras to tend to creep in. But, travelling is not about the extras you take, but what you get at your destination.

You can let them take a toy that they really want, and perhaps it can be donated to a children’s hospital when they get there. The toy gets a new loving home, and your child comes back with a friend for life.

Have fun

Travelling can be stressful, even for the kids, who also have to be on time, dressed, driven and entertained. Remember to live in the moment, be silly, play games and do some random stuff that will get your happy on! Camping, geocaching, hiking and all these experiences you have can be turned into adventures that will last a lifetime.

There’s our list of 10 things to teach your kids when they’re travelling. Have we missed out any?

About the Author

Lisa Steyn (51 Posts)

I’m a marketer by profession and a writer by nature. I discovered writing as my passion years ago, and have loved every bit of it, particularly writing for families in order to help them have fun and improve their lives. I’ve travelled the world extensively, lucky me! To make me happy put me next to the raging sea, or the calming mountains, and to get me firing on all cylinders send me on a wildlife safari!


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