family trips

Family trips: 6 positive effects it has on your child’s wellbeing

“Ma’am, when will we go for a picnic?” my three-year-old daughter questioned her pre-school class teacher a few years back. I still vividly remember her enthusiasm for the trip, her happiness chimed in her voice. Covid struck soon after confining kids indoors. But as soon as the schools reopened, my now six-year-old still remembered the due trip and rushed to her teacher to enquire about it, three years later!

One of the good things about having a family are the planned outings like picnics, museum visits and vacations to nearby and faraway places. Interestingly, I have never been able to forget a family trip that I took to the ‘heaven on Earth’, Kashmir as a 3-year-old. My memory regales in the boat rides I took on the resplendent Dal lake and the snowy fun I had in Gulmarg. This family trip was so special, it remains distinctly etched on my mind even today.

Most of us will agree that family trips are exhilarating for children. A trip together ensures bonding and gives the kids a unique ability to learn various life skills as they observe their parents’ and other members’ responses and behaviours away from the safe cocoon of a home. Family trips make children feel loved and cared for, add to their learning curve, teach them to adapt to new situations; all requisites for their growth and development.

Going for a family vacation exposes kids to the world outside, while also adding to their bag of nostalgia. Just like my Kashmir trip remains a topic of discussion for me and my family members till date, any family trip along with its myriad memories tends to leave an incredibly positive impact and high recall on a child’s personality.

While schools provide children with a formal education, they learn equally if not more from their family. This education takes place not just in the comfort zone of a home but also when travelling to new places. Kids come back enriched with experiences and learnings.

Soulveda shares how family trips bring about a positive change in kids, making them learn life skills while developing a strong familial bond.

Facilitates bonding

Till date, I fondly remember my Kashmir trip. The 15 wonderful days that I spent with the family filled us with happy memories for a lifetime. Even now, when we siblings meet, the anecdotes and incidents fill us with amazement and joy. If you look back, you will also remember some happy trips with your family, no matter how old you are today.

A family vacation gives us an opportunity to spend time in a relaxed frame of mind. Imagine strolling together on white sand beaches, building sandcastles, taking boat rides together or trekking to higher terrains – the adventure and fun brings people together.  When we share laughter and moments of joy without the hassles of daily responsibilities and chores, the bonding gets stronger and healthier.

Stimulates young minds

“Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.” This quote by Francis Bacon, an English philosopher, sums up the significance of trips for children. I still remember taking train journeys as a kid across the length and breadth of the country. Once, ensconced by the window, experiencing the freshness of a strong breeze, I observed how the colour of soil and the flora changed as the train chugged across states. With my ‘knowledge bank’ father by my side, my inquisitive mind launched umpteen questions during the journey itself, which he happily and patiently answered. This further stimulated my impressionable young mind to study the types of soil and their origin.

Indeed, vacations are one of the best learning experiences for children because they are natural seekers and learners. Experiencing and observing new situations, people, culture and places stimulate young minds. No textbook in the world can enrich one’s experience and quench inquisitiveness like a trip outdoors. Right from the mode of transport you choose, the place you stay in to what you see, kids observe every nuance and detail. Truly,

Teaches responsibility

Human beings have always been wanderers. We have evolved to become a sophisticated, civilized race but you will always find people, especially children happier when outdoors. “An ‘enriched’ environment offers new experiences that are strong in combined social, physical, cognitive and sensory interaction,” says Dr Margot Sunderland, a renowned child psychotherapist about kids going on trips.

Indeed, when a child goes on a vacation with his or her family, her horizon broadens. As much as we may have found ourselves yelling at kids for not putting back their clothes in place at home, we will surprisingly find them far more responsible when on a vacation. They instinctively feel dutiful towards their family’s belongings and activities in general when out.

Imparts adaptability

A child out of the comfort zone of his home tends to keenly observe how the elders of the family handle themselves in a new environment. Home with all the love, care and warmth is a haven to children. And travelling to a new place may be unnerving for them initially. But it becomes a lesson in living eventually. In an increasingly globalized world, children need to develop an adaptable and flexible attitude. Family trips to different locales help children absorb different cultures, observe and accept what they don’t see on a regular basis. Soon they get comfortable and imbibe varied traits that enrich their personalities.

As the Kashmir trip was my first journey in a bus, that too in the mountains, I distinctly remember getting very upset during transit. However, I came to love bus journeys thereafter. “Intelligence is the adaptability to change,” said Stephen Hawking, the profoundly wise scientist of our times. His statement aptly sums up the significance of emotional responses to the external environment, especially for a child while growing up. Adaptability helps kids face the world with confidence.

Enhances social skills

Who doesn’t remember every tiny detail of summer vacations spent gleefully at their grandparents’? It involved travelling in crammed train compartments, sharing meals with fellow passengers and spending days with cousins, aunts and uncles. Each day was packed with umpteen activities and heavy social interaction. We may have moved to a society that leans towards nuclear family units, but enhanced social skills have never been more important than now.

Our routines leave less scope for social interactions today even though we are more connected through technology. But for the all-round growth of children, it is essential to expose them to a varied social palette that develops their personalities and widens their horizons. A family trip does exactly that. It allows them to connect with their immediate family in a happy and relaxed atmosphere while also acquainting them to new faces, helping them overcome stranger anxiety.

Advocates mindfulness

Children are gifted with the unique trait of mindfulness, something adults can learn from them. Being mindful allows children to experience the surroundings with all their senses. While observing something new, a child tends to focus completely and absorbs the entire experience. When we gift kids the opportunity to explore nature’s bounties, places of historical interest and culturally vibrant destinations, we deepen their mindfulness.

However, we must ensure that the devices are put to rest during family vacations. It is a big dampener to remain connected with work while out on a vacation. If one’s work is hectic, try squeezing in a short vacation but  ensure children experience the trip it in its entirety.

Today, adults are heavily dependent on devices and children too are becoming digitally addicted. In such a scenario, it is even more crucial to let the children experience ‘mindful’ holidays without any technological distractions.

Family trips enliven and enrich a child’s personality and perspective in the most joyful way if only we can gift them wholesome experiences and our full attention!




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