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Local and international travel is important to broaden your child’s mind. Here the benefits are discussed and ways you can make this more thoughtful.

Exclusively written for Bright Heart by J Wright

The importance of travelling for a child’s education

A journal article on Science Direct recently examined the benefits of family tourism. Researchers found that parents’ well-being increased through memorable travel experiences. Interestingly, the study also revealed that generic skills in children also showed improvement through tourism as well. This is not the first study that suggests travel can create a positive impact on young minds, and play a key role in their education.

There are many things that a classroom — or virtual classes — cannot teach. Children and teenagers have to go out into the world to develop a keen understanding of human life. They need to visit new places and stimulate their senses for effective learning. Mobility is a natural partner to learning, because it exposes us to other people, places, cultures, and things, reshaping our perspective into something new. In this article we will explain how to travel locally and abroad, and the equipment you can invest in to make the trip easier for you and more fun for your children.

learning by travelling
There is much to be gained from local and international travel for a young mind.

Travelling locally

Travelling abroad may feel more exciting than a jaunt to a nearby town, but travelling locally teaches your children to not underestimate the beauty of their own country. Domestic travel informs us of the experiences in other communities, and lets us appreciate the cultural, architectural, and natural highlights we often take for granted. For children and teens, travelling at home also helps make what they learn about the nation’s heritage and history much more tangible.

So plan to tour another city for the next school holidays, or take a cross-country drive and make educational stops along the way. If that’s not doable, then bring your children to neighbourhood landmarks; the familiar spots on a walk will eventually help them form connections between their locale and their identity. You can even go to a nearby park to see native flowers, trees, insects, birds, and animals that they might only recognise from a book.

Travelling locally will help your children master public transportation — which is a basic life skill they should learn before adulthood. Riding buses and trains can equip children with street smarts, and even train their manners. As lifestyle writer Lazzie Lynn writes, children are natural explorers. You can’t really keep them locked up in a room, then expect them to behave like tamed, mindful adults when they’re out in the world. Ease them into the experience by asking them to observe how other people on the commute behave; you can even instruct them to compile their insights on travelling as a short-term passion project. As they get older, invest in a Zip Oyster Photocard so children under 18 years old can enjoy discounted travel on Tube, DLR, and London Overground journeys.

old map and compass
Each new place offers history, geography and learning about different cultures.

Travelling abroad

Travelling abroad leads to a better understanding of the world. When you’re exposed to languages and cultural differences, you’ll find the underlying similarities in humanity — which is important for developing tolerance and acceptance.

To get your young children emotionally invested in the trip get them involved with their packing by giving them their own suitcase. Trunki makes wheeled carry-on cases of excellent quality. Not only can your children pack their favourite things in them, you can pull them along when they get tired. This will give them a greater appreciation of the trip.

For teens, you can even ask them to do some research and help plan the trip by finding interesting places to visit. Simple responsibilities like this allow them to stretch their problem-solving skills, especially when travel plans don’t follow through. As parents, you’d be able to model the appropriate response, and guide your children to become more resilient.

The bonus to international travel? Access to the internet isn’t readily available. As we wrote in ‘The Importance of Sleep’, young minds should take breaks from electronic devices, especially when it’s close to bedtime. Without access to a cheap connection, your kids will be able to unplug and unwind to the fullest.

Exclusively written for Bright Heart by J Wright

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