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Enjoy travel with your kids

By Judy_Zhu ( Updated: 2014-10-23 14:06

Travel is an essential part of everyday life in western countries. Every time you go out, you will come across families. Normally mother pushes a baby stroller, with a baby lying in a carrycot or sitting in a push-chair, looking around curiously. Several bags, big or small, with all necessities hang on the handle bar.

The father often carries an elder toddler on his neck, shoulders a bag on his back and pulls another traveling case in his hand. Sometimes there is an even older child walking side by side with one of the parents, carrying their own trolley. It looks like every family member takes his or her own responsibility and works together efficiently and cooperatively.

You can tell from their expressions that they are cheerful and excited, especially the kids, laughing and giggling all the way. Such a nice, sweet scene!

We are also getting accustomed to this kind of lifestyle having lived abroad for years. Nicole enjoys a short trip at weekends too. She doesn’t want to be trapped at home. However, her grandparents worry about our frequent outings; actually they prefer us to stay at home. My mother even told me: “Better to avoid self-inflicted setbacks”. I tell them a short journey is usually pleasant, which we usually take as a reward for the whole week’s hard work and enjoy it so much.

Admittedly grandparents have our best interests at heart and I’m fully aware of their concerns. There are probably several reasons for their reluctance. First, it is usually considered unnecessary to take little kids traveling. They are so young they are unable to remember anything, thus it’s a waste of time in most adults’ eyes. Besides, it’s troublesome to travel with the kids. You have to bring so much stuff such as nappies, changing pad, formula milk, baby food, clothes, first-aid case, and so on. The kids are so small they are liable to get sick in a new environment. They usually cannot eat or sleep well. And sometimes there come unexpected accidents.

All these things sound reasonable but reveal a core problem in the child’s education among most Chinese families. The concerns are based on parents’ own experience and logic, which has nothing to do with the kids’ feelings and demands.

Even a small baby can feel change in the environment - the air they are breathing, the food they eat, Dad’s and Mom’s moods - they can tell all the difference. Exposure to these kinds of changes will help the child adapt quickly to society in future. I often hear parents say: “let’s wait for a while, until the child gets older”, which sounds to me like an excuse and waste of time. There may be a few troubles, discomfort or even accidents during the trip but the other hand; we can’t deny how meaningful the adventure is. Kids are happily making progress via exploring a new environment. Even when there is some unexpected problem, the whole family can deal with it together, from which the kids gradually learn problem solving themselves.

Childhood comes with a quite a course-load of its own – not just intellectually but emotionally, physically and socially, as well. With a solid emotional foundation kids will be more capable of intellectual learning. Let’s plan ahead and go out to enjoy a wonderful journey with small kids!

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