Last night, we arrived home from the Pont Du Gard light show close to midnight, with two extremely exhausted kids who had fallen asleep in the car.
This meant that today would be a rest and relaxation day. Since we didn't do much to write about, I thought I would take the opportunity to remind everyone, especially our parent readers, why it is good to travel with young kids, and why you should look forward to it instead of dreading it.
So, without further ado, here is our opinion on why it's good to travel with kids:
1. Resiliency & Flexibility - Children are much more resilient than adults give them credit for. They are capable of adjusting to new circumstances surprisingly quickly; it is all in the way we, as parents, handle the situation. More often than not, young children look at their parents to form opinions. Thus far we have stayed at 3 different apartments/houses, and a number of hotels, including a hostel, and we have not heard the kids complain once about where we were staying. Each location has its own good points and drawbacks, but as I said children are flexible and more than happy to take the good over the bad and move on. These qualities rub off on parents quickly, because you just want to be cool and flexible like your little traveling companions :)
2. It's the little things - Young children are much better than adults at appreciating the little things. Not to sound cliche, but they are all about the journey and not at all about the destination. This is why it takes FOREVER sometimes to get from point A to point B. It is not because they can't walk fast, or that they are not capable of going the distance. Rather, it's because they must stop and observe; collect rocks while hiking; practice how to hop on one foot on a wide sidewalk; or run after pigeons and "boo" them away while giggling. I have learned that I must accept this, and I am practicing every day to stop rushing the kids from place to place. Oh please don't misunderstand, I don't just sit around with endless patience while my 2 year old daughter collects fistfuls of rocks that she then asks me to carry in my bag. But I do let her check out the rocks for longer than 3 seconds, and occasionally let her collect a few in exchange for good behavior. Slowly, very slowly (I am more or less a New Yorker after all) I am enjoying these little moments and the little things along the way.
3. Growth - I am obviously not talking about physical growth, although inevitably that also occurs, but I am talking about personal and family developments. I am totally reminded of the Beaches Resort commercials and their slogan that says, "families that play together grow together". So far, this has been an incredible opportunity for all of us to grow, both as a family as well as individually, and having the kids be a part of it makes it that much more special.
For instance, we have all learned quite a bit about world geography. I used to think I was very good at this, but it turns out I had, and have lots more, to learn about the location of many countries. The kids are also learning a lot, and show a real interest in it. Whenever we see a big clock, Hannah immediately chimes in with "It's just like Big Ben! Remember London, and the London Eye?". The kids so far remember all sorts of details about the various places we have been, and are always asking about Spain, Vietnam, and Thailand. Today, the kids played a game where some of the My Little Pony toys that live in this house were going to walk from France to Thailand. Thanks to Google Maps, not only did we learn this would take over 100 days, but we talked about each of the countries on the way, and the ponies had to be especially careful in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Myanmar :)
A friend of mine once said, "traveling is good for the soul", and I couldn't agree more. It is all too easy to be swept up into a routine that limits your exposure to new and different experiences. When that happens, as it does to us all, don't use your kids as the excuse for not going out and experiencing something new. They're more than willing to go along for the ride with you, if you'll only give them the chance.