“Where are we? Where’s our doggies? Let’s go home now…”
By the time we took our two year old daughter to Sedona, AZ for a family “hiking” trip, she was a seasoned traveler, with more than 43,000km/27,000 miles of flights under her belt. But this was her first trip as a toddler and she let us know immediately that the rules of the game had changed…
Her travel experience really paid off on the especially long travel day from Calgary to Sedona, enduring the 12 hour travel day to get to Sedona like a seasoned pro. But by the first morning, she made it abundantly clear she was no longer a carefree baby we were carting around, but a little person full of her own thoughts, questions and concerns. The questions began the moment we began our first full day in Sedona, and they never stopped…
We had grown accustomed to dragging a little baby around the world without having to worry about what she thought. But, now we had to quickly adjust to answer her questions and address her fears. We had good success by using this experience to teach her the following lessons:
The world is amazing: Through travel we want our children to see that the world is an amazing place, filled with exciting new things to discover. On each daily outing, we talked about how special Sedona was and how lucky we were to spend a whole week there.
People are friendly: When you travel with small children, they will attract attention from all kinds of people who come over to see the cutie pies. We use this as an opportunity to teach her that that although you need to be wary of strangers, that most people are good, trustworthy people. It’s especially good when the people who come to talk to her don’t look like the people back home – it’s an early & important lesson in seeing all people as equal.
Travel is fun: We made sure that every day was fun for our daughter, filled with new and exciting things. We tried to give her time to explore at her own pace, even though it could be painfully slow at times as she picked up every leaf and twig along the way. Giving her time to have fun and learn about the world was more important than our hiking goal for the day.
Family time is important: And most importantly, we showed her that travel is a time when family gets to spend a lot of time together. Mommy and Daddy don’t have to go to work or do things around the house. It’s a time when we get to just be together, have fun and grow as a family.
And just that quickly, the requests to go home were not to go back to Calgary, but to our Sedona condo. She adjusted to the new routine very quickly and was excited to go out and have a new adventure every day. And of course, she loved all the attention from people as they congratulated her on being such a good little hiker. We are confident she is well on her way to becoming a good little traveler and that the lessons she is learning will help her become a better person.