Planning. Packing. Shuffling. All of the work it takes to get you and your kids on a road trip can seem like no fun – to the point of not wanting to go.
But before you plan a permanent stay-cation, consider the positives of taking your kids on the road. Here are six ways travelling with your kids strengthens your bond.
1. You create memories
The memories you will make with your children will be priceless. There will be the planned ones, yes, but some of the best memories are going to be from unplanned events.
By spending time away from home, you will break your patterns, which will help you see things in a new way. Your kids will have that new perspective too.
Make sure you take many photos or give them a journal for kids to write down events, so when you look back on the trip, those memories will be right at your fingertips.
2. Experience new things
If the planning of the trip is off-putting, get your kids involved! When they have a say in what the family will do, it can make it more meaningful and exciting for them.
Having their input will also give you insight into their developing personalities. Make sure everyone has a voice. Letting your kids, even young ones, see on the calendar when their preferred activities will happen will let them more easily consent to someone else’s activities.
You can increase the learning by letting them help you budget too. When they realize they can’t have only expensive destinations, they can get creative and find other ways to find fun while on the road.
3. Have real conversations
Spending a lot of time together can make people comfortable. While tensions will rise from time to time, so will conversations.
With other obligations aside, you and you kids will be able to give each other attention and deep, revealing conversations will likely occur. They will see you with a new perspective and will be more comfortable asking questions. You will see what they gravitate toward and will recognize openings for sharing.
Getting the chance to talk and discuss with your kids in a neutral setting shows them that you are willing to listen and hear them. All of them. Your bonds will be stronger when the trip is over.
4. Have fun
In the rush of our “regular” lives, fun is often put aside for the sake of productivity. We focus on work, school, grades, sports and leave fun for the edges of our time.
Taking a trip with your kids flips that on its head. You now have fewer obligations and more time for fun. Fun is important too. Children learn and bond through play, so playing with their parents and caregivers is a critical way they bond.
It’s important for adults too. When we have fun we increase our bonds with our kids. We can store up the positive feelings and good will. We get to experience them as people and not just someone we drive to ballet class three days a week.
5. Spend quality time
When we travel with our kids, our usual safety measures and routines are gone. Because we are in a new place, we often cannot let them play independently.
That time together is built-in quality time. It gives your children more access to you than they probably have at home, and it strengthens their view of you as their “constant.” You can increase the value by bending to the feeling and choose activities you know they will love to do.
Knowing you are giving your child what they need to experience and fully enjoy themselves will increase your your own sense of quality time.
6. Rely on each other
When we’re on vacation, you’re more open to new experiences. As you work through those experiences together, as a family, you become more of a team. Parents support each other and their kids, and siblings support siblings.
Because the common goal is clear: build the sandcastle, climb the mountain, or find dinner, everyone works to support the team. To have a strong team in any situation, you need clear communication and understanding. You need to know what each team member’s strengths and weaknesses are, so you can adjust to meet your goal.
Those tools are important for thriving families. Knowing how to bend and adjust to support each other is powerful. Traveling together strengthens those skills and allows you to better use them when you come home.
Traveling with kids can seem daunting. But the effort it takes to plan a safe, exciting, and restful vacation is worth it. It builds your family bond and strengthens your connection to each other. Seeing the benefits of traveling with your children leads to the question of not if, but when.