“I never bother to read to my kids because they won’t remember it.”
“Why would I bother to play with blocks with my child? He won’t remember it when he’s older.”
“I certainly wouldn’t bother taking little Joey to the supermarket. Why would I? He won’t remember it anyway.”
I don’t think anybody would actually say those things, and yet I hear this all the time:
“Why travel with your children? They won’t remember it.”
Why bother? Only about a million reasons. Or maybe 85 billion is a better answer. (That’s how many brain cells your child has.)
Why do we do anything with a small baby? Why do we rock him and cuddle him? Why do we change his diapers and put clean clothes on him?
We do all that so that he will grow up knowing he’s loved and cared for. Will he remember the hundreds of times we changed his diaper? If your child is anything like my sons, the answer is no. And yet we do it anyway – because we know how important it is.
It’s important that our child feel secure and loved when he’s one year old. That feeling of security will affect what risks he’s willing to take when he’s two. And after taking those risks at two years of age, he’ll feel confident to tackle new challenges at three.
There is no question that a feeling of being loved and taken care of allows children to reach higher, to attempt new things, and to trust in themselves.
Even if they don’t remember it.
We take our children shopping with us when they are toddlers so they aren’t nightmares when they’re older.
We play with our children to help them develop coordination and spatial awareness.
We read to them so they develop a love of story that will be with them forever.
Our children don’t remember doing those things with us, but the benefits last a lifetime.
And the benefits of travel as a young child will last a lifetime as well.
What children do and see and learn when they are two impacts how they perceive what they do, see, and learn when they are three. And that will impact what happens when they are 4. Although they might not remember it when they are 15 or 20, the impact is there anyway.
My sons went to Kenya when they were two years old and they were able to feed giraffes from a platform there. They LOVED it!
When they were three, we traveled to Thailand. “Can we feed giraffes?” Daryl asked. Although we couldn’t find giraffes to feed, he was thrilled to feed elephants and an orangutan – a desire directly linked to the giraffes he had fed earlier.
Daryl’s experiences feeding animals when he was three contributed to his comfort around animals when he was four. He loved being around sheep and cows and any other animal he could find.
By the time my sons were six, they no longer remembered feeding giraffes from the platform, but we knew that experience drove the way they thought and acted when they were three. And that affected what happened when they were four.
If we can give our children unique experiences with various cultures, foods, languages, and religions, they will grow up accepting that as normal. The fear that so permeates American society will be tempered by personal experiences. And that can’t be anything but a good thing.
All of those varied experiences that kids have perform together in their brain to create a mystical dance that will be unique to that individual person. We will never know exactly what impact any individual experience has on our children, but we CAN know that it will have an impact.
Other bloggers are writing about this same topic as well! Check out these posts about how much kids learn from travel:
Catherine et les fées: Travel Memories
Living Outside of the Box: But will our kids remember?
Break Out of Bushwick: Why travel isn’t wasted on kids
Flashpacker Family: Is traveling with young kids worth it?
Edventure Project: Why travel is not wasted on the very young
Living Differently: The gift of travel
Portable Professionals: Why I don’t care if my child remembers our travels
Barts go Adventuring: Will kids remember travel? Is it worth it?
Where’s Sharon: Why travel when your kids are too young to remember it?
Raising Miro on the Road of Life: Do you doubt that travel has value?
Adventure Bee: Traveling with young kids who “don’t remember”
TravellersPoint: Selective Memory – What will they remember?
We Travel Countries: Why travel with they won’t remember it? Experience vs Memory
Simon Says: The world is my playground
Bohemian Travelers: Is Traveling With Young Kids Worth It?
The Expat Experiment: Why Travel When Mak Won’t Remember?