Family Travel: 5 Lessons Our Kids Learnt on the Road

Posted April 15, 2013 by Erin Bender in Family Travel

Erin's daughter playing

Adults are selfish creatures. When we contemplated a trip around the world we did it because we wanted something to change in our lives and that it did. We established deeper relationships, carried a new version of home with us and realized how rich you really can be in a different location.

Little did we realize, however, how much change it would make in our kids lives. Our kids were 2 and 3 when we started our trip and now are 3 and 4 – we’ve been traveling for nearly 12 months. So it’s not like they chose this life, they are just along for the ride. But I am so glad they are.

Here are 5 lessons my kids have learnt from traveling the world:

1. They have learnt a global language.

That they can play with kids who don’t speak the same as them, but still share moments and life. That the “other” English is not bad, just different. That a smile means the same in any language (as does “no”, usually).

2. They will try new foods

Sometimes in our travels we can go months without seeing a McDonalds and the kids are now realizing what a treat it is. They are learning the importance of food, its value on our bodies and that trying new things is not scary. They have a huge repertoire of food knowledge and tastes.

3. They have learnt to cherish their loved ones.

To communicate on Skype to family, to miss friends, to reminisce on good times. And in line with that they have learnt the quality bonding time that comes with visitors from home.

4. Patience & flexibility.

Sometimes adults can’t even grasp patience and flexibility. Our kids learn every day the patience it takes to get through an airport terminal, the flexibility it takes in deciding on where to live, when to move, and what to eat.

5. My kids experience two full time parents.

Not many kids get the opportunity to have both parents around all the time and this advantage gives my children’s thousands of more lessons to learn.

family travel

There are some pretty steep lessons above for 2 and 3 year olds to learn. But it’s not all serious life stuff. Here are 5 practical lessons they have learnt while traveling the world:

  1. Both kids have learnt to count to ten in several other languages – Spanish, Indonesian, Thai & Mandarin.
  2. Together my 2 and 3 year old have learnt to swim. When on vacation, swimming is a huge part of life and with most days spent beside a body of water they both picked this up relatively fast without any professional training.
  3. My 4-year-old daughter has spent ample time learning to write her letters and draw her numbers. She can now write her name. Also because of the strict teaching in Malaysia she learnt to draw very well and colour within the lines.
  4. My 2-year-old son has learnt every shape, every colour, even how to spell. My son is so smart and I think the time we are putting into him now is already paying off.
  5. They’ve learnt how to fly frequently (even if they have yet to master sitting still or quietly), ride on a scooter & hail a tuktuk/taxi

Riding a scooter as a family
We love watching our children grow and develop as they travel. I can only dream about what they will be like when they are my age with so many more life experiences under their belt. But I’m confident they have a sturdy foundation to build their life on as they learn to love and appreciate the world around them.


About the Author

Erin Bender

We left Australia with a 2 & 3 year old in May 2012 and have been travelling ever since. Our journey has taken us from the jungles of Bali through the cities of Malaysia and the cenotes of Mexico and ancient ruins of Guatemala. And we are still going! It’s an open-ended, unplanned round the world trip discovering amazing places for toddlers that you can share by visiting our family travel blog or Facebook page.

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