Travel: Family holidays are an investment, not a luxury

Do you go on holiday with your children? Is it an annual ‘thing’ that you do as a family, with the excitement building through the year until departure day? Research has shown that if you don’t ringfence downtime to spend holiday time together, you could be missing out big time. Here’s why holidays should be an essential part of your family life.

A break from normal family routines

While it’s important to give structure to your everyday living, it’s also nice to take a break from the routine every now and again. Whether you choose to go to Margate or Marbella, a holiday is the perfect opportunity to treat everyone in the family to a special time away from the daily grind.

Did you know that about 60% of parent-child conversations revolve around daily routine topics? Going on holiday together changes the setting, allowing you to have more meaningful exchanges with all members of the family. It’s an easy way to spend more quality time with your children, get to know them better and observe how their individual personalities are developing.

Being away from home gives parents a new perspective on your children’s behaviours. From your vantage point on the sun lounger, it can be much easier to see any problems and think about whether you’re parenting in the best possible way, or if your kids need a different approach.

Use the time spent far away from everyday routines to improve communications with your partner and in the family overall, the positive effects of which you can then take home with you.

An opportunity to make happy family memories

Being a family means going on life’s journey together. From getting married to having a baby, from toddler to teenage years, these are experiences that we will remember throughout our lives. Interestingly, there is hard scientific evidence to back up what we’ve suspected all along: positive memories lodge themselves more readily in our long-term memory banks and can be recalled more easily than negative or neutral experiences.

According to the Family Holiday Association, nearly half of us think of family holidays as giving us our happiest memories. Is it any wonder that being away from home with the people that you love, in a beautiful location and with spare time to relax and play is likely to create a deeper impact in our consciousness?

Whether you’re taking the family on a holiday to the Scottish Highlands or Indonesian Islands, it’s all about having a good time together that everyone will remember for years to come.

A time for play and relaxation

Play is an integral part of childhood – it’s how kids learn helpful behaviours such as problem solving skills, creativity, patience and much more. But in our hectic, overscheduled family lives, do your children get enough playtime?

Another question to ponder is: how often do you play with your kids at home? Spending quality time with your little darlings makes them feel loved and valued, which is important, but playtime also has benefits for adults. Not only does play act as a huge stress reliever, it helps you deepen your emotional bond with your child.

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One reason why family holidays are so special is because normal rules don’t apply. Whether you’re enjoying the Caribbean sun or the golden beaches of Camber Sands, it’s the one time when positive parental attention is virtually guaranteed and everyone in the family feels good about spending time together.

A great way to deepen family relationships

We live in a world of 24/7 communication but how often do we actually talk to each other? Despite (or perhaps because of) the available technology, text messaging can only convey so much. What it can’t do is communicate the nuance of our facial expressions and non-verbal body language as a context to add meaning to the naked word. What’s more, there are many, many topics that simply can’t be covered adequately by message.

Going on holiday together, be it to South Wales or South Africa, means being in physical proximity to the rest of the family. That’s a golden opportunity to get to know each other better as a family group and as individuals. You can take the time you need to talk about ‘stuff’ that goes beyond the mundane in a non-pressured environment, strengthening your relationship with your nearest and dearest.

A healthy way to live

Not only are family holidays an excellent way to improve communication and understanding within the family unit, the relaxation and joy that comes from having a good time together has proven mental health benefits that include improved self-confidence and happiness.

But there are physical health benefits too. Family holidays tend to be about doing things. Whether you’re swimming with the dolphins in Florida or going on a helicopter sightseeing tour in New York, visiting the local souks, or walk the Camino de Santiago, it’s all active outdoor stuff that’s miles from the sedentary lives many of, including children, lead back home.

Finally, connecting with the world around us in 3D gives us a greater perspective and sense of belonging. The world is a wonderful place just waiting to be explored.

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