Vacations are priceless – and this for life, not just for a moment.

by | Apr 22, 2018 | Family life

As I am writing this article, I’m sitting outside our tent, listening to the birds up in the tree, to the children playing on the playground nearby and to the people splashing in the the pool only a few meters away from our camping place…. Yes, I am still on that campground in the south of France with my Kids.

When people hear that I go camping with my kids all by my own, reactions are different.
Some think I am plain crazy – others admire my courage, others want to join (and this time, some actually will be doing just that in a few days) … whatever  the response I get, I love these vacations.

Of course I would  prefer my husband to be here with us. However, April is a busy month in his business, so there is no way he can join.

„We would love Papi/Benny to come with us … but we also prefer going alone over not going at all“.

That’s my kids’ and my answer when people ask why we are going, even though Benny can’t come.

I love this special time with my kids.

I love the fact that we experience many adventures together – the 800km-drive to the south, building up the tent, exploring the region or simply relaxing near the tent. We enjoy the pool. We love building sandcastles on the beach nearby. We love hearing the wind blowing while we’re in the tent and even the rain playing music over our heads.

We cherish the daily barbecue, eating outside when it’s already dark or eating breakfast in the sun – even the walk to the toilet nearby is something special to my kids.

All of this makes these holidays so special.

When we come back from such holidays, our children are happy, relaxed, full of new impressions, bonded together by the quality times as siblings. I have a stronger connection to each one of my children, and together we have created many, many memories.

During the year, as we let our children have their turn to give thanks before we eat lunch, our four-year old always prays:

Thank you God for this food-…. And thank you for the vacations we had together!

A few days ago I came across an article which someone posted on Facebook, speaking about the impact of family vacation in the lives of children. The article included different researches on the matter.
While I was already aware of some of the content – which is the reason why I take the effort to come here with my kids – some of it was new to me.
I think this article is explaining better than I could, why it is worth it to take vacations as a family, the benefits of it, and why it is priceless to do so.

vacations
vacations
vacations

So here we go with a resume of these articles. You can find the articles in their full length by following the included links.

As I said above,

  • Holidays create memories 
    During holidays there are many unique moments, which the child will never forget.

    A British survey found out that almost half of respondents stated their most favorite childhood memory is one of a family vacation, and more than half (55%) of respondents said “that these holidays have given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”  

And in the conclusion of a survey from the University of Toronto, one can read:
„If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.”

  • Holidays make our kids smarter 

In the past I could experience how each one of my kids made some progress in their development. An increase of their vocabulary, improvement in their swimming, biking or even running skills, a deepened basic knowledge of many matters. However, digging into that subject, I learned that there is more to it. In this article Sunderlandes explains in a whole chapter, how such holidays can also advance brain development in children.

She writes

“Vacations provide kids with all kinds of enriching experiences (like building sandcastles with mom and dad) that aid in cognitive development and helps with frontal lobe growth. If you are choosing between buying your child a tablet or taking them on a family holiday, consider the profound effects on bonding and brain development; there is no competition,”

  • Holidays strengthen relationships 

It is something beautiful to create memories as a family.
However, this is not the only benefit to make our connection as a family stronger.
In fact, Sunderlandes writes: 

“Attachment play also enhances self-esteem, sending a child the psychological message: “You have my full attention. I delight in you. I delight in being with you.” 

She continues comparing family holidays with what goes on in most stressed-filled lives at home:

  • Two-thirds of conversations between parent and child are about daily routine (Elizabeth Buie, TES).
  • 65 per cent of parents say they only play occasionally with their children. 

  • One in six fathers say they do not know how to play with their child and a third say they simply don’t have the time to play (Parent-Play survey, Playmobil UK). 

  • Only a quarter of children say they talk to parents more than once a week about something that matters (Child of Our Time). 

  • We worry about our physical health but we need to pay just as much attention to relationship health within the family. And, of course, research shows that relationship health is vital for physical health (Holt-Lunstad et al, 2015). 

Holidays has a wide range of lasting social, emotional and psychological benefits

This research report also

„shows the wide range of lasting social, emotional and psychological benefits which taking a break as a family can bring. 
These benefits are particularly profound for the Family Holiday Association families, many of whom are struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring. Significant changes such as increased affection to other family members, better behaviour at school and at home, greater optimism and ambition for their future, reduction in how much they worry and less need for disciplining children were all tangible benefits clearly set out in the results of the report. „ 

As i wrote above, this is something we experience every time we get home from these vacations. Our children are happy, relaxed, enjoy their daily life even more and our bond to each other is strengthened.

To end this list, I will quote Professor of Marketing and Tourism, Scott McCabe who says that there is an important relationship between holidays and positive long term memories:

“Holidays are a key source of pleasure and other positive emotions involving intense, immersive experiences. Quality time is an important facet of holidays and because the experiences we gain are different from everyday life events they tend to stand out stronger in our memories. Holidays and travel experiences can contribute to our identities and enable us to construct an enduring sense of self around these stand-out experiences.”

As I was reading through this material for the past few days, I found myself even happier being here, on this campground with my children. However, I also found myself confronted with the fact that I could do even better: Include more time playing with my children, take life even more easy while providing more quality times with each one of my children.


I could be more relaxed when mistakes happen to them. I could already include a long list of these kind of mistakes they’ve made since the day we arrived: From emptying a water bottle on our bed to pushing our little camping table so that all the food landed on the floor (or rather – in the sand…) to burning a plastic bowl on the electric plate which my toddler had turned on and so on. I try to be patient and I actually do pretty well – but I think I can do even better, considering the positive long term effects of such experiences!

I think it’s important to finish this article by making it clear that you don’t have to go camping all by your own in order to provide your kids with these positive effects of family holidays.
This is something I myself love. I’m simply myself at it. It’s something I find myself capable of, something our children love, and something that matches our financial
capacity.
There are plenty of different ways to spend family holidays, each of them can be adapted to your unique personality, your children, your family as a whole and your financial capacity.

The aim of this article is simply to expose the many positive effects of such vacations on our children and our family.

And know that whether you are planning a trip to the nearby lake, booking a hotel somewhere in this world or planing a safari trip together, the result is the same: A happier, more connected family. And THAT is priceless.

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