Friday, May 16, 2014

Travelling as kids get older: Keeping my son keen on family travel

Travelling as a family and in particular, showing my son the world and encouraging a love of travel in him, is something I plan to do a lot of in the coming years. I love travelling so much and learn so much from it, both about the world and about myself, and I'm determined to pass these gifts on to my son as well.

Encouraging my son to plan trips

This determination means that we talk about the world and travelling a lot in our household. I think most parents are looking out for "teachable moments" with their kids, but we all have a different direction which is our favourite - some jump on anything numerical and turn it into a spot of maths education; others seize any interest and grab a new book (that includes me, I must admit!). But my favourite "teachable moments" are anything to do with travel.

Last weekend my son was watching one of his favourite TV shows and they showed a short video clip of Cockington Green Gardens, a miniature village in Canberra. He was so taken by it that first of all we had to start building our own miniature village but then he wanted to know about more across the world (I may have mentioned that there were lots of them around the globe ...) and before I knew it, we were on Pinterest together searching for miniature village tourist attractions.

My son's new Pinterest board - currently full of places with miniature villages
We now have Pinterest pins across a map identifying a dozen or so miniature village attractions he wants to visit, although in case you need to know his current favourite is one in Pennsylvania. (Although he was pleased to hear about one within a short drive from us in Mandurah - that will be on our agenda very soon.)

Encouraging my son to keep travelling with us as he gets older

My son is just four years old at the moment, so he can't imagine travelling with anyone other than Mama and Papa. But I know that it will not be all that long before he may not feel the same. I was just 14 when I travelled without my parents on a school trip to Germany and that now seems incredibly young - how could I let my son travel to another hemisphere for a month in less than ten years' time? (And thanks to my Mum and Dad for letting me go - especially back then without email or easy phone calls!)

My style of travelling with my son has already changed dramatically throughout his life: we took him to Germany as a four-month-old babe-in-arms (and borrowed a rather rickety pram from friends-of-family) and a year ago we pushed him along the narrow roads of Inis Meain in his beloved stroller. But in Penang earlier this year, he just had to walk (and did so without too much complaint) - and of course he's still at the age where he loves to hold my hand!

But my son is a solutions man and was not that keen on only walking so his new suggestion is taking "big boy" wheels on his next trip. We get to school by scooter or bike but they're not something you can pack in your suitcase - I suggested a skateboard and before long we were back in front of Pinterest! So it turns out there are light plastic skateboards (who knew, obviously not me) and we found Penny Skateboards online, a big success story that started here in Australia, and there's one young man in this house who already has his eye on one of them! As he gets older and we get less cooler, telling him he can pack his skateboard for our next trip could make the difference between him wanting to come or staying home.

Skateboards for travelling which my son found on Pinterest ...

I have grand, grand plans for travels with my son in the next decade or so - some of you will have heard how I'm plotting to take him to attend school in Germany for half a year, and of course now we also have to do a world trip to see all those miniature villages, and he still has a fervent desire to get to Egypt. But I may need a few tricks up my sleeve to encourage him to leave his friends and routine for a while. I'm definitely working on it. (Tips in advance appreciated, though!)


(This post was brought to you by Penny Skateboards but I genuinely think they're cool!)

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2 comments:

  1. Really interesting post Amanda, when I read the title I was intrigued, as I keep wondering what our kids will take from our travels and how they feel about it when they get older, as we drag them along on frequent adventures... Your son being only four, this was a really "educating" post for me as we are not so far off (my daughter is turning 3 this year). I think researching in Pinterest with kids is a great idea and something I didn't even think about. Oh, and we have our own miniature town, Lilleputthammer not so far from us in Norway if you ever fancy a visit! ;)

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    1. Thanks Satu! We will have to look up Lilleputthammer and add it to my son's Pinterest board! (This was the first time I'd shown him Pinterest but it worked really well.) Of course, I don't really know how he will really feel about travel later but I have a good friend who was a single mum but travel lover (based in Slovakia, actually) and she always took her son on travels - and he has now ended up working as a flight attendant for an international airline so obviously took on board her love of travel - even though he complained about it at times as teenager.

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