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Travel lover shares why travel with young kids is a great idea
When I became a parent, I had big ideas. Big ideas about what kind of mother I would be and what kind of children I would raise. I had really big ideas about how I would continue to find time for myself, my husband, my job, my friends, and all the other things I loved – especially travel – even while being an engaged and present mom to my kids.
Sound familiar? I suspect many of you had similar big ideas about your own parenting journey when you started it. But then, just as I did, you realized that parenting takes over – in good ways, and bad. And so begins the internal struggle of finding time for everything, and of preserving your own sense of self, even as “mom” becomes your core identity.
Travel was and remains one of the most important things I try to prioritize as a parent. While my parenting journey has been a rollercoaster, with my pre-conceived notions of what it would be like thrown out the window long ago, I am proud to say that I have, in fact, continued to find the time and energy to travel as a parent!
Travel with kids can be hard and expensive. It’s not always glamorous, and it doesn’t always go as planned. It’s easy to get discouraged by the overwhelm of planning, the logistics, and the fear that our kids won’t behave on the road. But, if you, like me, loved to travel before kids, and had aims to keep it up for a parent, it’s totally worth the effort. Here are 5 reasons why you should make a point to travel with your kids while they are young.
To connect with your children
Traveling with my kids reminds me why I enjoy being a parent – which I really believe, in turn, makes me a better mom. When you are in the daily grind, there may be a lot of days when parenting feels like more work than fun (sometimes a lot more). While managing a household, and perhaps a career as well, it can be hard at the end of the day to put down the phone, stop doing the dishes, and just play with your kids. The mental shift of getting out of your house, and away from your daily responsibilities, creates more space for true connection.
To show your children the world
One of my favorite parts of being a parent is watching my children experience the things in life that I love. Family vacations can be full of those moments! Whether you love outdoor activities, seeing new cities, or relaxing on the beach – you can share it with your kids through travel. Your kids will be jazzed to experience something you love, and you, in turn, can connect with your kids through those shared experiences.
To teach your children to be flexible
We all want to raise children who can roll with the punches. Travel is one of the best ways for kids to learn to do so! When plane flights are delayed, children learn to manage boredom. When the hotel doesn’t have the specific pasta your toddler requests each night at home, he or she may be more willing, in an adventurous environment, to try that new food.
No matter the trip you take with your kids, unpredictable things will happen. Your kids will watch and learn as you handle the unexpected. The more you travel with them and give them autonomy and experiences outside of their daily routines, the more equipped they will become to handle unfamiliar situations too.
To catch a break
Many of the reasons for traveling with kids are about them. But some get to be about you. When you travel with your kids, you get to take a break from dishes and household chores. Enjoy a slow cup of coffee sitting on a beach chair while your kids run around in their underwear (because who needs to get dressed on vacation?). Relish in having someone else cook for you for a week. Instead of using naptime to catch up on work, take a trip to the spa, or a solo walk on the beach.
In those first few years as a parent, you may not find as much time for relaxation on your family trips as you would like. You may not get to sit on a beach chair for hours reading a book. But even the brief moments of relaxation, somewhere other than your couch, can reinvigorate you as only a vacation can.
To preserve your own identity
I started this post by talking about the big ideas we had going into parenthood. Many of us look back fondly on our pre-kid adventures – solo trips, weekends away with friends, vacations as newlyweds. But in those first years of parenting, travel – like lots of other hobbies – may fall by the waist-side, as something we just can’t find the time or energy to do.
In some ways, though, the first few years of parenthood are when it’s most important to find ways to preserve pieces of our own identity. It helps to keep the overwhelm and panic of parenting young children at bay.
Finding the time to travel with your kids – and to show them the world you love to explore – can be a great way to remember that you haven’t totally lost yourself by becoming a parent. That, in turn, can help you find the mental balance to enjoy the ups and downs of the parenting journey.
Meet Lee Friedman
Lee Friedman is a mom of two and lawyer-turned-entrepreneur. She launched Mango Tree Travel
, a family travel company, because she truly believes that traveling with kids is one of the best things parents can do for their kids
, and for themselves. By recommending unique and thoughtful family-friendly hotels across the Caribbean, ranging from small eco-cottages to luxury experiences, she seeks to give parents a lifeline back to the way they traveled before kids – but with the added comfort of knowing the kids will enjoy their journey by their side.