Parents who love to travel will want to share their passion with their children. Your best chance to raise a little traveler is to make it a part of your baby’s life right from the very beginning.
Here are our 7 top tips to raise a child who loves to travel.
1. Travel With Your Baby Early Often
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Our top tip to raise a little traveller is to start travelling with your baby early in their lives and keep the trips coming as often as you can afford. As with all things in a baby’s young life, the things they grow up doing are “normal” and they will grow to learn that travel is something that people just do.
As a bonus, children under 2 typically fly for free -enjoy this perk as much as you can!
2. Share Your Travel Pictures with Your Baby
Babies learn so much by looking at their world and asking “what’s that?”. Once your baby is old enough to be interested in pictures, show them your travel pictures and tell them stories. Tell them where you went, what you did, what the people are like, what the food tastes like, etc.
Even if they are not old enough to fully understand or ask questions, they will love seeing pictures of you in different settings and you can be rest assured they will be paying attention to every word you say.
We recommend capturing your family travel memories in a series of family vacation photo books. We have photo books for all of our family vacations and now that our children are older, they love looking at the amazing places they traveled as a baby.
Another great source of material to share with your baby are coffee table picture books (by National Geographic, etc.), which will expose your child to the many wonders of the world which you haven’t had a chance to explore yet.
As your baby slowly develops into a little person, you will have demonstrated that Mommy & Daddy love to travel and that the world is an amazing, beautiful place, filled with wonderful, friendly people.
By sharing your travel memories with your baby, you will be helping to raise a little traveler who is excited to continue traveling as a family for years to come!
3. Share Your Travel Souvenirs
Just as pictures are wonderful visual learning tools, travel souvenirs are excellent tangible learning tools for your baby. If you have any treasures that you have brought back from your travels that are safe for baby to play with, let them hold it for a while (with your careful supervision of course).
Let your baby explore your travel souvenir with their hands, eyes, and yes, probably their mouth, while you tell them stories about where it came from and what makes it special to you.
4. Make Everyday Outings an Adventure
Going on family trips is an adventure, so prepare your baby for the realities of travel by making everyday activities an adventure! It doesn’t matter what you do, but make it fun & exciting and full of discovery.
A trip to the park can be all about finding birds, or even a routine stop at the grocery store can turn into a fun challenge to find and count the number of other children in the store. Your attitude is key – if you are excited about your “adventure” and discovery, then your child will be too!
5. Adjust Your Routines…Slightly
All parents know the importance of routine for infants – it makes them feel stable and safe. But adults also know that one of the best things about travel is that is disrupts the routine and brings amazing new experiences to your life. You can help your baby prepare for the disruption travel will inevitably bring to their routine by developing good, solid routines, but introduce some variability within the routine.
For example, if part of your bedtime routine is to say goodnight to all the things in their room, try mixing up the order in which you do so. Rose Kavo, PhD, adjunct professor of child development at the Bank Street College of Education in NYC says it well, “To learn that life is still good, stable, and safe when your routine is altered is also very important.”
6. Try New Things
Another fun way to bring some variability to your baby’s daily routine is to try new things with your baby. Over time they will learn to look forward to the surprises in each new day.
For example, rather than go to the zoo three times a week, try going for a walk by the river and see how many ducks you can count. Or it could be as simple as not following the same route when you walk around the neighborhood – if they are old enough, let them choose which direction to turn, etc.
A baby who is exposed to a steady stream of new experiences will be flexible and more confident in new situations in the future. These are all skills that little travellers need!
7. Play With a Globe and Map
A fun and educational way to raise a little traveler is to have a globe around the house. If you put your globe on the floor and hold it, your baby will love spinning it.
As your child grows, you can play the “where do you want to go” game – have them stop the spinning globe with a finger and then you tell them about the place their finger is pointing to. (Be prepared to talk a lot about Russia and Canada! haha!)
Another great idea is to have a travel map of the world mounted on your wall and use color coded pins to show where you have travelled. Use one color of pins to show where Mommy & Daddy have travelled, and then use a different colored pin to show where the whole family has gone together.
As they grow older, your children will love looking at the map and remembering all the fun family trips they went on. Before you know it, your little traveller will be staring at the map imagining all the places they want to travel with their family!