A while back I came across a really interesting article that mentioned how going family vacation can stimulate your child’s brain and make your child smarter and happier! As if I needed another excuse to continue traveling with my kid. I read on and understood the science of it and everything makes sense! You can actually make your child smarter by traveling together!
Vacation makes children happy
Now before getting to the science of it, let’s state the obvious. We all know that vacations make kids happy. These days the majority of families have too little time to spend with their kids, and although most of us try to make quality time a priority for our kids, quantity is also important. Our stress and rush-filled lives do very little to fulfill a child’s developmental needs. Of course this is not the case for all families, but most families rely on two full-time working parents’ incomes to get by, which means that kids spend long days in school, kindergarden and after school activities, and have too little time for free play and connection with their parents.
The article I read mentions some pretty sad statistics about the UK, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it looks the same (or worse) anywhere else.
- 65% of parents say they play with their kids only occasionally
- 33% of parents say they don’t have time to play with their kids
- Only 25% of kids say they talk to their parents about things that matter more than once per week
How can traveling make my child smarter?
You can actually make your child smarter and happier by traveling together, mom and dad can disconnect from daily routines. There’s plenty of time to play and explore. There is much more freedom and much less stress than during normal daily life. But what is it about family vacation that actually makes your child smarter and happier? Is there any science about it? Well, children’s brains have two very important systems, that can easily be underworked or underused with day to day. These systems are the play system and the seek system.
It is pretty straightforward to understand what develops each of these systems.
The play system is developed when you play, when you build castles in the sand, when you jump waves together, when you come up with a game to stay entertained while on the road. The seeking system is developed when you explore together, every time you go hiking a new mountain, go to a new city or even a new park. When these systems are activated (for kids and grown-ups alike) well-being substances are released in the brain which helps produce loving, stress-free feelings.
What is lovely about these systems is that they work just like your muscles do. The more you use them and the more you activate them, the more they become part of the way you are. By traveling with your child you are promoting capacities that in adult life translate into the ability to be flexible, play with ideas, find new ways of doing things, which are an essential characteristic of a successful entrepreneur. You also help the brain mature and grow in the frontal lobe which is responsible for social intelligence, cognitive functioning and goal oriented behaviors that will help so much during adult life. Your child’s brain develops while traveling with you! So yes, you can make your child smarter by traveling together.
Invest in your child: travel together!
Another very important point is that when you go on holidays many times you spend lots of time outside. Research also shows that only after being outside for 20 minutes a child’s concentration levels increase, and time outdoors has been found to be more effective than medication for children with ADHD. Being outside reduces stress levels, which is good for all the family, not just the little ones. So we could say that by exploring new places and traveling with your kids you are making them smarter.
You can consider a family vacation an investment in the wellbeing and intelligence of your child. So if you are wondering whether you should buy that new iPad or some other toy or gadget vs. going on a family vacation, I’d choose the family vacation over and over again. Not only do you make your child smarter and happier by traveling together but you also strengthen family bonds while allowing yourself to disconnect form daily life and enjoy stress-free.
Can’t go on a vacation right now? Plan a staycation, it can even be during the weekends – no need to take time off work. The principle is not spending money and going abroad, but rather the types of activities that stimulate your child’s brain and their well-being