Last week I read this article – the science why you shouldn’t take your children on foreign holidays! It really irked me on the first read but the more I have thought about it and on second read it has annoyed me even more! So I wanted to pen a response to why I think you should take your children on foreign holidays. But first I’m going to dissect why this article really irritated me.
The title! The title states – the science behind why you shouldn’t take your child on foreign holidays! So what scientific research has been conducted to generate this article. NONE! This piece admittedly was written by Oliver James, a UK based child psychologist! However the evidence put forth in this article seems purely anecdotal with little empirical basis beyond his own family who took nine years of holidays to Cornwall before going to France! It seems his children hated France and therein lies the science why you shouldn’t take your children on foreign holidays! This is not science! I am sure there are many factors why this was the holiday his children didn’t like, not simply because it was the one foreign holiday they took! How can an trained, professional psychologist make such an outrageous claim with no empirical evidence to support it!
For James, what children need is familiar and unadventurous holidays! This to him means repetition, reasonably warm and ice cream nearby! Why – because apparently until children hit near teens they are completely unequipped to deal with foreign travel! From my limited experience of travelling with my one year old and from experiences of people around me, I have only seen positive effects of travel!
Admittedly not all of our travel experiences have been successful but without doubt our worst experience was a UK based holiday! Not because it was a ‘home’ holiday but because he accommodation was not what it billed to be! Does this mean I should tell people not to do uk travel – of course not that would be as absurd as James claim that foreign travel is bad for children!
Now, surprisingly given the title of my article I am not advocating for only foreign travel. I actually thing that any travel, be it a day out with the family to a country park, or a 2 week holiday in the sun is beneficial to children and even more importantly the quality time families spend together!
But for me, and I think many others, foreign travel with children is something they cherish!
I recently wrote about why we have and we will continue to travel with our baby ! And I stand by them! I love travelling with out baby – in fact the whole ethos of our blog is inspiring other parents to travel with babies! Now do I believe travelling stays the same when you have babies – absolutely not! And it would be selfish to think it could but it can be adapted. We travel at a much slower pace! And in fact we love this new slower pace.
We also as I am sure James will be happy to know, keep a structure to our travel days to make sure baby enjoys our travel too! We also make sure we plan activities and meals that we know our baby will love. It takes a bit more research but is well worth it! Also I want my daughter to grow up with a curious, accepting and flexible soul! Foreign travel can certaintly encourage this!
If you are an expat like us, travel is the only way in which we can connect with and let our baby bond with family!
I think all these reasons show why – if you want to, you should take foreign holidays with children and not feel guilty about it!
So in future Daily Telegraph – if you are going to publish “scientific” articles make sure there is empirical, peer reviewed science actually in them! And perhaps accept that holidays, whether day trips at home, holidays in the U.K. and/or foreign travel can all be beneficial to children if you do them right!
Part of #marvmondays