Research points to well-traveled children being healthier physically, but did you know that top docs tend to agree that traveling with children of all ages can actually be extremely positive for cognitive and emotional development as well? True story.
"In the context of travel, children get to spend a consistent, concentrated amount of time with parents and siblings that they may not get when at home and going through the daily roles of their lives," explains Jyoti K. Randhawa M.D. "
Traveling provides a stimulating opportunity for self growth, adventure, aiding cognitive development, expanding perspectives, and initiative for further self learning."
Dr. Randhawa believes that increased reliance on basic awareness skills, sibling and family bonding, and being forced to see the world from a global perspective actually enhances a child's ability to form positive behavior patterns and think about they relate to the environment and people around them.
"Behaviorally, children see how others conduct themselves, what is considered respectful and appropriate in other cultures and can modulate their own behavior according to what is required of them by parents, school, society, peers, et cetera. And cognitive development can aid emotional development. Healthy, positive travel experiences can influence a child's ability to feel compassion, empathy, sympathy, and gratitude."
It sounds like those hard-to-pack-for family vacations to far off lands full of unknown languages, foreign relatives, and historical sites are worth far more than the time off work and sun-kissed skin: They're actually total brain food for children.
Family vacations may even promote healing and happy relationships within households according to Dr. Joe Taravella, Psychologist, Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine, and dad to three kids who love to travel.
"Family vacations increase emotional bonding within the family. This time away from one’s regular routine of work, school, and homework helps to promote positive ties, as parents give their undivided attention to their children and focus on their family."
Dr. Taravella is far from alone in his thinking. Recent research conducted by Project Timeoff proved that family vacations, even with young children, actually provided decades of positive memories and associations.
"Traveling to other places and seeing how other people live gives children another perspective in their young lives and helps them understand issues relating to diversity," Taravella says. "I have my own children research and learn about places they want to go, which promotes great conversations of learning, growing, and bonding together as a family. Keeping things in perspective helps make a family vacation enjoyable and enhances the time together. The fun, wonder, and learning together on a family vacation is a special blessing with memories you can share with your children for a lifetime."
So you know what this means, right? Research, doctors, and science all want you to book a family vacation sooner rather than later. Off you go!
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