- Remembering a trip isn't the point. I love traveling with young kids in part because it teaches them flexibility, patience, diversity, proper behavior on airplanes, in restaurants, how to sleep away from home, etc. They may not remember the specifics, but these lessons become ingrained in them at a young age via travel. And hopefully, we'll reap the rewards as they get a bit older.
- Important time together as a family. When my husband has time off and we decide to stay home, we inevitably get caught up in projects or chores around the house. When we travel, we simply spend time together away from those distractions, enjoying one another and our surroundings.
- YOU will remember it. Someday the Arrows will grow up and leave our nest. I hope that in 20 years I'll be sitting on a beach with my husband, enjoying retirement, and reminiscing about watching our boys splashing in the water as babies.
- My experience shows that young kids often DO remember trips!
I'm sure he doesn't remember everything, and he may end up recalling very little by the time he's older, but seriously, who cares?
But if you DO care, here are a few ways we keep the memory of vacations and adventures alive in our boys:
1. Read books. This doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money on a book about every destination (although they'd make great gifts or souvenirs). We check out books from the library, or we read general books that have an element related to where we're going or where we've been.
A few recommendations:
- 1001 Things to Spot on Vacation: We've gotten a lot of mileage out of this book because it covers so many different types of trips. Plus, it's a great one for planes or car rides because there is an interaction component to it. It's like the Where's Waldo of travel.
- A series of board books called Good Night Our World. These location-specific books cover everything from Martha's Vineyard to San Francisco.* (Kudos to a loyal ASF reader for starting us on these with the San Francisco book!)
- Jessica at Suitcases and Sippy Cups recommends the Toot and Puddle* stories. I've seen the show a few times and it is really cute.
- Colleen from Travel Mamas suggested the Madeline books, the Curious George books* (I second that!), and also recommends Barefoot Books for a good selection of multicultural books.
- Crystal from Naked Salsa said her 3-year-old daughter loves Biscuit's First Trip.* Big Arrow really enjoys the Biscuit books he has.
- A fellow travel mama and ASF Facebook fan suggests Angela's Airplane.*
If your kids need a little encouragement when it comes to make-believe, you could think about where you've traveled lately. Perhaps a pretend trip to the museum or an imaginary airplane ride!
3. Pictures and video. Maybe it's just my kid, but Big Arrow is obsessed with seeing himself, whether it is in pictures or video. (In fact, he's asked to watch that zoo video about 30 times.) This is a great way to keep those memories fresh. You could even make small photo books for them to flip through after a big trip and display photos in their bedroom.
4. Just talk about it. Sometimes when we have time to kill (often in the car), I'll ask Big Arrow what he remembers about a vacation. Or what his favorite part was. Or what he didn't like. (This is often pretty funny, actually.)
I don't do these things with my kids because I'm desperate for them to remember our travels or because I'm super mom. Like I said, I don't really care. I see enough benefits to traveling when they're young to do it anyway. I just happen to love travel, so reading vacation books instead of another Elmo one or talking about our favorite museums while driving home from preschool is just fun for me (and hopefully them).
This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walking on Travels.