BREAK AWAY FROM STRESS AND ROUTINE
Most families spend their days dealing with deadlines, tasks, errands, and other activities. Whether these are a result of work, school, extracurricular activities, or household duties, they often bring stress to our daily lives. WebMD.com discusses stress and has this to say, “Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation…(this) can lead to a condition called distress.” It’s been shown that chronic stress can cause health problems. So, by breaking away from your daily routine you can get relief from the continuous stress and that could be good for your health.
MODEL PROBLEM SOLVING AND ADAPTABILITY FOR YOUR KIDS
I think most families would agree that while on vacation (even well-planned ones) things can occur that you didn’t plan for. Kids can get sick. Flights can be delayed. Cars can break down. The weather can change. In all of these situations, parents are put on the spot and have to deal with the situation. Kids see you model real-life problem solving and situational adaptability, which helps them understand self-reliance and encourages independence and self-confidence.
Traveling can expose your kids to new places, people, cultures, and things. Most kids live in a bit of a “life bubble.” What they experience is often their perception of the world. By taking them outside of that daily bubble you are giving them new experiences that can reshape how they view the world. They can see different people, admire new natural environments, experience a variety of food – perhaps they’ll even be exposed to new languages. In addition, kids can experience firsthand things they might have learned about in school or at home.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
When you take a vacation together, you become a team. You’re all suddenly part of a dynamic that relies and includes each family member. Researchers have found that family vacations can improve family communication and bonding. “A team led by Purdue University Xinran Lehto concluded vacations promote what is called the “crescive bond” (in sociological parlance, a “shared experience”) by fostering growing and enduring connections. Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work, and so on) help to promote these positive ties.” (Published on June 22, 2010 by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. in Fulfillment at Any Age).
Taking time together to share experiences and activities creates memories that will be recalled and reminisced about later on. For instance, my husband and I still laugh about an incident with a mountain goat during a Canada road trip (no animals were harmed in the making of this memory). It’s a classic memory that still makes me smile. My daughters often throw in vacation references during our daily lives. My oldest daughter remembers catching frogs with her papa in Missouri, and my youngest refers to stalactites she saw in the Lewis and Clark Caverns. These are memories we’ve created together and can share as the years go by.
So, plan a trip! Detach from your daily stress; teach your kids how to adapt to unplanned situations; expose your kids to new experiences; connect as a family; and create memories for the future – all accomplished with a family vacation.