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Christine Sarkis, SmarterTravel.com | November 10, 2015
Family travel can sound like a daunting task, it is important to equip your children with certain skills to ensure they grow up to be travelers. Follow these steps to turn your kid into a savvy, curious traveler from a young age.
Get a Globe and/or Atlas Early
Introduce the world to your kids with a globe. Have your child spin and the globe and stop it with their finger–wherever they land, pretend that will be the next place your family travels to. This is a great way to talk with your kids about different places around the world. Use an atlas such as National Geographic Kids World Atlas to actually learn about different countries and cultures together.
Share Family Travel Stories
Kids love stories. At story time, tell exciting stories about your own past travel experiences. To really spark their imagination and pique their interest, share photos as well. Before you know it, your kids will be dying to go to Europe or Africa to live out your epic adventures.
Surround Yourself with Fellow Travelers
If you surround yourself with friends and relatives who travel often, travel will become the norm to your children. Encourage your traveling friends and family to share their exotic tales. This will not only inspire your children, but build their confidence to travel starting at a young age.
Teach Children to Roll With the Punches
Adaptability and resilience are traits that every savvy traveler must possess. When a problem arises, teach your children how to brush it off rather than have a meltdown–take a breath and then determine the best possible solution. By teaching them these skills, they’ll be able to stay levelheaded when unexpected travel mishaps such as flight delays or overbookings arise.
Foster their Curiosity
Curious people, adults and children alike, want to explore the world around them and all it has to offer. Encourage your child’s natural curiosity by exploring their ideas and questions in your daily life. For example, if your child asks about how an airplane works, look it up together to find out everything there is to know. As an added bonus, this will help revive your own childlike curiosity.
Teach Children to Trust Their Instincts while Traveling
Learning to trust your instincts requires tuning into a lot of small cues around you to turn a feeling into an action. Teaching your kids to trust their instincts duringfamily travels can help them read the world, even in unfamiliar places–an invaluable skill for any great traveler.
Use the Rule of 7
In order to determine if they truly like or dislike something new, children should try it at least seven times. Use this rule of seven to teach your children that they must give something a fair chance and try it multiple times before writing it off. This will help them be open and welcome the foreignness of travel.
Family Travel Together
If you don’t want to travel with small children on a plane, you don’t have to. You can wait until they’re older, or take a road trip before embarking on an 8-hour international flight. Broaden your children’s horizons and allow them to learn about new cultures and places firsthand by exploring the world together. It may take your children a few days or a few family vacations to enjoy traveling, but it’s worth the wait.
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