You’re the CFO of your family. So it may be tempting to see a family vacation as a frivolous endeavor when faced with the schedules of growing children, the obligations you and your spouse have to ensuring your careers are prioritized and, of course, financial obligations. But there is measurable data that proves family vacations are healthy both mentally, physically and emotionally.
Kids learn best with active learning
According to Earlyarts consultants, a firm specializing in using neuroscience, arts and creative teaching to promote early education and cultural leadership, kids learn best “holistically”. This means something they learn from one experience– will connect with something else seemingly unrelated to form a connection, which builds context and meaning. They learn best through doing — hands-on experience and need lots of opportunities to explore objects and materials with all of their senses. Earlyarts states “This helps them to construct and test theories, make decisions, overcome challenges, foster empathy, build resilience and solve problems for themselves so that they can become independent, confident and competent individuals.” What better way to promote this kind of learning than to remove children from their day-to-day environment and take them somewhere new for maximum sensory exploration!
Cultural diversity is critical to children’s well-being
Natalie Turner, known as The Educational Tourist, believes travel to other cultures promotes empathy, open-mindedness, an ability to appreciate differences, an edge in future job market global opportunities and increased cultural intelligence — the ability to adapt and interact with others from different cultural regions. Says Turner, “Being able to thrive in the midst of a variety of cultures is crucial to a happy and productive life in our generation and future generations.”
Stress-reducing benefits of family travel far outweigh the challenges
The travel tips guide “Stuffed suitcase” cites a reduction in stress and routine as the top reason family vacations are healthy. Breaking away from dealing with deadlines, tasks, errands and other requirements of the daily routine can give you relief from the stress those items create. In addition, by teaching your kids how to adapt to the unplanned situations that can occur on any vacation — you help them learn how to be more adaptable in their day-to-day stressors.
Experiential gift-giving fosters stronger emotional relationships
The Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford, published the results of four separate studies on gift-giving and found that experiential gifts — i.e., events for recipients to live through — produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts. They find that the emotional connection evoked by consuming an experiential gift is far greater in intensity than a gift that is simply received. Co-author Cindy Chan says “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”
Family time has a dramatically powerful impact on health
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, has published a substantial body of literature on the benefits of family meal frequency on academic performance and learning, including this one. We don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume family travel time has similar benefits. Children and adolescents spending more time with their families also fare better on measure of psychological adjustment and engage in fewer risk behaviors. They cite the importance of family mealtime representing a connection to cultural rituals important to children’s wellbeing. Imagine the benefits of creating your own family vacation rituals that you can pass to your children and they can pass to theirs — helping to raise generations of healthy families who vacation together!