You might find yourself in the position where you’ve booked flights to grandma’s house for you and your toddler for the Holidays. No, you’re not crazy. You are embarking on a fun and exciting new experience for your child. Traveling with your toddler can be one of the most memorable and enriching experiences together. Think about it. How often does your family get to spend time together 24/7 over multiple days? This isn’t like one or both parents has to leave for work in the morning every day. Plus, they have your full attention as a parent when traveling, which is something they cherish.
—Bonds that last forever
Then there’s the other side of the equation: Grandma and Grandpa. If you’re taking a flight to go see them, chances are that this might be the very first time they get to meet them. The bond between grandparents and their grandchildren is very special. Many people I talk to speak fondly of their grandparents, or wish that they had known them better. The more your children spend time with them, and go on adventures together, the stronger that bond. I know that Plus, how many pictures do you have of them together? Probably not enough. It is these shared experiences that are a bounty of joy for both your children and their grandparents. And when they are hanging out with grandma and grandpa, that gives you ample time to relax a bit, and maybe even sleep in for once.
—You got this
Travel takes your child out of their day-to-day routine and comfort zone, so it peaks their curiosity and opens their mind. My toddler will stare out the airport windows at all the planes taking off. It’s pretty fascinating…every time. They have to rely on you completely to navigate through the airport, on the road, and in a new destination. These dynamics all strengthen their bond with you and it builds an early confidence in them to take on new experiences. In addition, as travel plans and logistics can change, you have an opportunity to model adaptability and problem solving to them. They adopt your demeanor real quick. And trust me, they can pick up a sense of stress as well as poise.
—The honest truth
You’re probably well aware by now that parenting involves sacrifice. You sacrifice eating right away to make sure their demands for food are met first. You sacrifice your sleep in the middle of the night when they wake up and start crying. These are not the glamorous parts of being a parent, but these are the seeds of parenting that reap profound rewards for later in life. The sacrifices that we make as parents today exercise our capacity to give, make us better people, and ultimately will be cherished by our children for years to come. So if you find yourself giving up your in-flight movie because you’re trying to keep your toddler at bay on the plane, just remember that you are planting those seeds now. And grandma’s house will be here sooner than you know it.
One word. Presents. I know, I know, that’s not what Christmas is all about. However, statistically speaking, your toddler has a much higher chance of scoring more presents if you fly out to see grandma and grandpa. Not to mention the rest of the extended family. Just make sure to leave room in your suitcase. Plus, there’s just more magic during the Holidays when all the family is together enjoying baked ham and their generous pours of eggnog all under one roof.
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