I have always dreamed of travelling the world like many of the so-called ‘Millennials’. Unfortunately, I had
misguided different priorities in my 20s that I creeped up to being 30 feeling like I missed out.
Now I have debates with myself around whether or not I should still entertain my wanderlust or strive to be content with 1 or 2 holidays per year. Well, our financial situation would dictate this initially but should we become lucky enough to have the means to “go and see places” more often then I will most definitely happily oblige!
For some people especially those with families, travelling is further down their priorities list due to a range of issues such as finances, home renovation projects, etc. Most people put off travelling with a toddler for the fear that it could be the most stressful experience they could ever put themselves through as parents. And they probably won’t even remember any of it, right?
Whilst travelling with a toddler is definitely no easy feat, it is important to weigh up the benefits of travelling and exploring new places. And if you do have the means, I am urging you to take every opportunity that you get to go and visit a new place.
At this very special age when almost everything in the world in unknown and new, you have the opportunity to introduce and shape your toddler’s understanding of the world. New experiences, sounds, and smells are all creating a new space in your child’s brain widening their horizon one new smell at a time. It’s always better to show them when you get the chance. After we came back from the Philippines, new words such as ‘beach’, ’starfish’, ‘jeepney’, and ’tricycle’ became part of Little H’s vocabulary at 20 months old.
Spend quality time and create beautiful memories together.
We go on a holiday to take a break from our mundane day to day routine. This means dirty dishes and work deadlines should and will not preoccupy us in this period. We are in ‘play’ mode and so we are up to having a good time with our family. Simple things like playing with your toddler in the beach can do wonders for their self-esteem. We played in the sand a lot and this really stuck with Little H that until now he still asks me to go to the beach with him.
We can enjoy the nature and outdoors.
Because let’s be honest, in the Western Hemisphere where we sometimes get biting cold temperatures, it is difficult to get ourselves to spend time outdoors. And even if we do eventually go out (because we HAVE to), it would be incredibly difficult to force myself to enjoy the time that I’m spending outdoors, being cold.
Connecting with family and roots.
Our family is a very multicultural one and rather luckily we have family members scattered around the world. It is important for me for Little H to know and understand where his grandparents came from. Pretty soon, they will be relocating to the Philippines for retirement and it will be more important for us try and fit in a trip to the Philippines at least once a year. Little H still remembers his uncles and cousins from our last trip and so it would be nice to introduce him to more family members all over the world. We have family in Australia, Canada, UAE, USA, and Singapore.
Learning to adapt and that different is good.
Adjustment to a new environment, food, smells and meeting new people is just part and parcel of travelling to new places. And yes, toddlers and babies need their routine, it is not going to cause any permanent damage to miss one or two naps in the time that you are away from the comforts of home. See how we coped with a toddler on a long-haul flight.
We stayed at my mum’s old house in the Philippines for a few nights. We had very little sleep on our first night because Little H kicked up a lot of fuss and screamed every time the roosters made the crowing sounds. And there were LOTS of them living behind my mum’s house (unfortunately, cockfighting is still legal in the Philippines and so people breed and raise roosters and it has become so uncontrollable over the last decade). Anyway this happened for hours until he passed out from tiredness. The next day, we showed the roosters to him and explained that they make the crowing sound at night. He still got woken up the next night but at least there were no tears!
So there goes my top 5 reasons and motivations for taking my toddler travelling. Their brain is developing at an incredible rate which I witness everyday when Little H picks up new words. I would like different experiences including cultures and languages to shape his development. At the same time, nothing beats creating lovely family memories that will last a life time. Even if he will most probably not going to remember his trips, the attention that we give him will help build his self-esteem. The new environment that we introduce to him builds his knowledge about the world through his senses and through words.