We have been very lucky that in the first 18 months of our little one’s life we have been able to travel the world. I frequently write about the reasons we love travelling with our little one but other than loving it, it has also taught us quite a lot about parenting. It has taught me that:
We don’t all parent the same
Having been expat parents in Qatar and also travelling with our little one we have learnt that we all don’t parent in the same way. It’s not that any one style is correct or incorrect, they are just different traditions and advice. And there is nothing wrong with this and you should take comfort in the fact that there is no right way.
Children are the same everywhere
But despite the fact that we may have different thoughts and customs on parenting, all children are the same. The world would be a happier place if we could be like children in that respect. Plonk your child in a play area anywhere, no matter if there is a language difference, they will learn to play happily together.
That there is an over reliance on parenting books
I think these days, we rely too much on parenting books and the advice of experts who write these so called books. Again, not everyone parents the same way, and certainly not as prescribed by a book. And that’s ok!
It teaches the importance of routine and flexibility
One of the things that I have learnt travelling is getting a balance between routine and flexibility in our little ones life! This is a hard act to balance whether at home or away. While we don’t want to be too rigid, so our little one is unable to cope with new surroundings and experience, you need to make sure that you give them plenty of stability and routine in their life while travelling and at home. Learn what things are most important to your little one. For us, our nightime routines are the most important thing to keep the same wherever in the world we are.
Kids don’t need lots of toys
I don’t know about you, but we have a toy box overflowing with toys at home. When we travel, we obviously take limited toys with us and my little one really doesn’t miss the ones we leave behind.
It’s not always the high tech toys that are the best
Along with limited toys, we tend to take low tech toys with us when we travel. We pack light weight, and low irritation toys (noisy electronics are a definite no-no for flights). Our little’s ones favourite toys while travelling are building blocks, sticker books and regular books. We find these hold her attention best but also we find are the most educational. We love the fact that travel is helping to instil what we hope will be a life-long love of reading.
Nothing teaches about diversity and acceptance better than travel
Travel can be a better teacher that I can ever be when it comes to teaching acceptance and diversity. By exposing my little one to different cultures and environments I hope she will grow up being an accepting individual.
Travel is a learning experience
As much as we learn when we travel, children do too! When we travel we do different activities than we do at home. We visit aquariums, museums and parks across the globe. These experiences, that we wouldn’t necessarily have at home mean she learns something new every time she travels.
Travel doesn’t need to be exotic
But it doesn’t always have to be exotic travel to be a great experience for children. My little one has had great adventures in far flung places such as Japan and the Maldives, but has also had a great time exploring the UK!
Family quality time is key
But the biggest thing that travel gives us in our parenting is quality time! And nothing about parenting is more important that spending quality time with your children!