By Puja Chandra Nanda
“Once a year, go someplace you have never been before!” – Dalai Lama
Summer break is over for most of us and kids are back at school. Many of us would have been lucky enough to go on a family vacation, the memories of which would be still etched in our minds.
In-arguably, being in the outdoors is beneficial to both adults and children and travel can satiate our senses for long. Interestingly, there is also a whole science of why traveling is good for everyone, especially the kids.
Researchers opine that a family holiday experience trigger well-being neurochemicals including opioids, oxytocin and dopamine. Professor Jaak Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist at Washington State University Panksepp calls these “nature’s gift to us”. These stress – reducing hormones activate warm feelings towards each other and a sense of security and well -being.
So whether your vacation was a hike up the mountains or a dive into the waters, snow playing or museum hopping, building sand castles or hot air ballooning …every experience would have improved your family’s well-being along with offering a treasure trove of learning.
For those who were not able to travel in the last break, we give you 9 reasons why you should plan your family vacation soon:
- Offers Bonding Time for the Family – Family vacations help all members to emotionally refuel and reconnect! For children, travel can be reassuring of adults love and care and can give them exclusive time to play with their parents.
- Builds a Child’s Exploratory (Seeking) Sense – Children are natural seekers. The thrill of going to someplace unknown and discovering new sights and new activities activates their sense of seeking and exploring.
- Gives a Sense of Wonderment – We often lament that our children are privileged and are easily bored. Wandering in nature, seeing the beauty and grandeur of nature and even man made architecture fills them with a sense of wonder, they rarely feel in their daily lives. Gathering fruits from trees, picking up pine cones, seeing how the water changes its path and erodes rocks, how people live in stilt houses or house boats – everything holds an allure.
- Offers Away Time from the Digital World – For a few days the children find excitement in something apart from video games and TV shows. Being in nature even for few hours can be therapeutic for all. Being in green spaces is good for the brain, good for the lungs and good for the eyes.
- Offers Experiential Learning at its Best -Learning about new places, exploring its history, hearing a new language, trying a new cuisine – it’s all part of soaking up culture of a place, so important for experiential learning which again is important for social intelligence.
- Teaches Humility and Compassion – Just looking at how other people live or at the sheer magnificence and unpredictability of nature, makes one feel small and look at the world with humility and compassion.
- Teaches How to Conquer Fear – Traveling puts you out of your comfort zone and hones your survival instinct – the sense of fight or flight. It helps you let go of your fears and embrace change as you are in an exploratory mode and are ready for new challenges.
- Builds IQ– Much of what the child learns and becomes is based on the exposure he or she gets. Traveling gives the best exposure and learning. The enrichment leads to a higher activity in the frontal lobe of the brain and an enhanced Intelligence Quotient. It improves cognitive functioning and common sense.
- Builds a Mindset for Traveling for Life – Finally, introducing your children to the wonders and thrills of travel ensures that this wanderlust grows with them and that they become lifelong explorers and seekers.