Travelling with a baby or toddler can seem like a daunting task! Some will even question if it’s worth the effort. We, at Baby Can Travel, believe that travel can still be enjoyable with babies and the effort early on will pay off. Sharing your passion for travel and the world is the ultimate goal. By making it a fun experience, you can help grow little travellers who will share your passion.
Here are our recommendations for growing little travellers starting at a very early age:
Introduce travel at an early age
Travel doesn’t always have to be flying internationally. Travel can be camping, a road trip, or anything else that gets your family out the door together to try something new.
Start traveling with your child as early in their life as you feel comfortable and keep the trips coming! As with all things in their young lives, the more you do something the more it will become part of your baby’s norm. Your baby will grow to learn that travel is fun and exciting. As a bonus, little travellers under 2 typically fly for free – enjoy this perk while you can!
Share travel pictures and stories
Babies learn so much by observing the world around them. Show your baby travel pictures and tell them stories of your travels. Tell them where you went, what you did, what the people are like, what the food tastes like, etc. As they grow, they will especially love seeing pictures of themselves and hearing the stories. You can even incorporate your stories into your play with your baby. Our daughter started very early on playing a game where she leaves on a trip; always naming one of the places we’ve taken her and told her many stories about.
Just as pictures are wonderful visual learning tools, travel souvenirs are excellent tangible learning tools. If you have any treasures that you have brought back from your travels that are safe for baby to play with, let them hold it for a while (with your careful supervision of course). Let them explore the object with their hands, eyes, and yes, probably their mouth. At this time, you tell them stories about where it came from and what makes it special to you.
Share more about the world
Other great sources of material to share with your baby are a globe, map or coffee table picture books. Coffee table books, like the ones from National Geographic, will expose little travellers to the many wonders of the world which you haven’t had a chance to explore yet.
A globe can be a fun learning tool even early on. If you put it on the floor and hold it, your baby will love spinning it. When they are older, you can play the “where do you want to go” game. It’s easy: first have them stop the spinning globe with a finger and then you tell them about the place their finger is pointing to.
Another great idea is to have a map of the world mounted on your wall. You can talk about the different countries and even use color-coded pins to show where you have traveled. Use one color of pins to show where Mommy & Daddy have traveled and use a different colored pin to show where the whole family has gone together. As they grow older, they will love looking at the map wondering where their next pins will go!
Make outings an adventure
Getting out of the house each day can also be an adventure! One fun way to bring some variability to the daily routine is by trying new things with your baby. Visiting a new park or meeting up with new friends can be exciting. Even spending time at a neighborhood playground looking for rocks can be a new adventure. It doesn’t matter what you do, but make it fun & exciting and full of discovery. Similar to when you travel, your attitude is key! If you are excited about your “adventure” and discovery, then they will be too!
Over time they will learn to look forward to the surprises in each new day. A baby who is exposed to a steady stream of new experiences will be flexible and more confident in new situations in the future.
Adjust your little travellers’ routines… slightly
All parents know the importance of routine for infants – it makes them feel stable and safe. Adults also know that one of the best things about travel is that it disrupts the routine and brings amazing new experiences to your life. Travel will ultimately force some disruption into your baby’s routine, so introducing some variability at home will help. For example, reading a new story, singing a new song or even doing part of your bedtime routine in another room of the house. Rose Kavo, PhD, adjunct professor of child development at the Bank Street College of Education in NYC says it well: “To learn that life is still good, stable, and safe when your routine is altered is also very important.”
As your baby slowly develops into a little person, you will have demonstrated that Mommy & Daddy love to travel and that the world is an amazing place, filled with wonderful people & places. Your little travellers will look forward to exploring it with you for years to come!
This post was adapted from Baby Can Travel’s original post How to Raise a Little Traveller
Did you know Baby Can Travel was also part of Kidbo’s “10 Amazing Parents, 10 Inspiring Trips” List (Part 1)?
Celine Brewer is the co-owner of Baby Can Travel, a site dedicated to supporting and encouraging other young families to continue to travel. Celine and her husband have written five travel guides specifically for parents traveling with young children to some of the top cities in the world (Paris, London, NYC & Barcelona). Baby Can Travel is all about giving parents the tips, tricks, and tools to be confident in traveling with their babies. You can follow Baby Can Travel on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
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