It doesn’t matter if your family holiday takes the form of a weekend camping trip to the Lake District, a cross-country road trip to visit family or friends, or an exotic week abroad, those few days spent together are more likely to form your child’s best memories than any other time in their lives!
UK travel expert John McDonald calls them “happiness anchors” and says “reflecting on our happiest memories of joyful time spent together as a family can be extremely powerful in bringing relief and respite when faced with the darker times that life can bring. By using these memories as an anchor to take us back to more cheerful moments, we’re often able to approach problems with a fresh sense of perspective.”
Toronto researcher Cindy Chan says, “If you want to give [your children] something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.” Chan’s research found that giving experiences rather than material gifts to children provides longer-lasting and more affecting memories. I agree! In fact, I can’t think of a better gift than that of a family holiday.
I was taught this on a Parenting Course by Ustadha Fatima D’Oyen. She emphasised that fact that it is our job to make beautiful memories with our children; to reflect on them and discuss them together is a fantastic way to increase the chance of the children remembering them. This, will help in future hard times and stress. It’s so beautiful that these good times will help our children get through the bad times in the future inshaAllah.
Thinking about this, I want to add that children do not care about the expense of a trip. As long as they’re in good company, I try to drag a couple of cousins and friends along if we are going somewhere different, they are happy. Day trips and regular local experiences are just as valuable for the children’s ‘good memory tank’. I’m thinking about trips to the library and the local parks, bike rides, walks etc.
As long as the grown-up is making an effort to give the children time and to be with them, the outcome is a positive one. I am aware this will only work up until a certain age. I have a 12 year old, Miss Craft, who’s already showing us that her opinion counts when she doesn’t necessarily go along with what we’ve planned for an outing! I plan to make the most of the fact that I still have the younger ones on my side.
Another point to note here is that children don’t remember much before the age of 4 years old. Your outings could consist of them rolling around in the garden whatever the weather (which would be quite an experience with our fabulous variants of British weather!), and they wouldn’t know any different! Photos, of course, serve as a good reminder and give them the reassurance that their childhood was full of great times.
The immediate benefits of holidaying together are amazing. Here are five for you to ponder:
Mom, Dad, and kids come back from time away feeling refreshed and looking forward to their next chance to spend time together. In fact, research has shown that even anticipating a family vacation elicits strong feelings of happiness and well-being.
I love this reminder because we have a tradition in our family of surprising each other! I must remember that the mere anticipation can bring joy- a feeling we miss out on if we’re always surprising each other. Haha. Whoops!
Children who spend quality time with family tend to worry and play up less. This could be because spending long periods of dedicated time together allows parents to “observe and learn about (the) child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to better guide them,” says Dr. Gail Fernandez, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at UC Irvine School of Medicine.
Affection between family members typically increases during family holidays. One of the reasons for this is that holidays create time together where parents tend to reminisce about their own childhood experiences, which gives children a glimpse of what their parents are really like when the stress and worries of everyday life slip away for a time. This, in turn, creates a shared bond between parent and child as they connect memories-in-the-making with anecdotes of past memories.
Knowledge acquired during this time together is retained longer and recalled more easily.
I remember at our first term at Elmfield Steiner School, I asked whether I needed to work with Miss Craft on anything to make the most of the free time in the holidays. Her teacher (at the time) said, ‘ In the holidays, the children will have a chance to live new experiences, maybe meet new people and discover new places. They’ll learn so much and they’ll grow through it. And when they come back, they’ll sloooooowly remember what they’ve learnt previously’.
How refreshing! And how true a statement. We are reassured, even in these days of standardised testing and the National Curriculum, that learning does not have to be linear. Indeed the Steiner Curriculum likens progress in education to be in the form of a tree rather than a set of steps. A tree grows outwardly and is different from the other trees. It’s a wonderful metaphor and I wholeheartedly recommend their school curriculum.
Unstructured playtime—an important part of family vacations—makes for happier kids and happier parents. Christine Carter, PhD and author of Raising Happiness, says play is one of the ten most important factors in childhood happiness. Additionally, “child-led, unstructured play (with or without adults) promote[s] intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being.”
Are there any other benefits you’d like to add? Do let me know!
I want to thank Rebecca Hinze whose post have re-posted and edited in order to write this! Thank you.
You can read the original post here.
And here are 5 fabulous Essential Oil Tips for the hols, also from the wonderful Rebecca.
1. DigestZen by doTerra. Rubbing a drop of this digestive blend on a child’s stomach or even adding a drop or two to a few ounces of water can settle upset stomachs on the road, bloated stomachs from eating too much fast food, or nausea from long car rides.
2. Peppermint. I use peppermint oil to relieve tension headaches and sore muscles. Rub a drop or two on your temples and the back of your neck to help a headache melt away. Inhale some of the oil to perk you up on long drives or early mornings.
3. Lavender. This is the perfect oil to help lull kids (and adults) to sleep, especially if the sleeping quarters aren’t the most comfortable hotel beds, camping cots, or guest sofa sleepers. Put a few drops on a pillow, your child’s blanket or rub a drop or two on the forehead and bridge of the nose before bed. Lavender also works great for soothing bug bites, burns, and scratches that might occurs during a trip in the great outdoors.
4. Melaleuca. Like lavender, Melaleuca oil is great for burns, bites, and scratches. It also works well to sanitize hands and get rid of pesky germs at picnic tables, after hikes in the woods or rides at an amusement park, and before meals on the go. It can be rubbed directly on hands or mixed with a little water in a spray bottle and spritzed on hands, tables, and so on.
Don’t forget to see Dawn Hinson’s FaceBook page to connect with her and get yourself some fabulous oils!
So that’s it from me for now,
Until next time,
Peace and Love,
PS To help me on my journey to enoughism I will write down 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each post. These are:
1. Making things together! I’ve recently acquired a kitchen for the youngest two (£40 from George Asda if anyone’s interested!) and Miss Craft has impressed me with her building (making a flat pack?) skills. I wholly recommended this activity for children any age. Seeing a box full of little bits and bobs come together to make something useful is a great learning experience and it won’t be long until you can hand one of them the instructions and do the watching yourself. Good times!
2. New experiences, people to see and places to visit these holidays. Whenever we feel like a trip abroad isn’t going to happen, we tend to book a trip (or two) to Wales. We lived in North Wales, Prestatyn, for a year and have fabulous memories of whiling the time away by the seaside. (Not always in the sand and sea, but amazingly therapeutic and awesome just the same!).
So we’ve booked trips to Wales this Summer and I can’t wait to spend time with our loved ones there and make some memories. 😁
3. Fulfilment of some short-term goals and prayers answered. We were speaking recently about how prayers being answered are the true miracle in this life. There is only so much we can achieve and have control over. To trust that the rest is taken care of by God is a huge blessing and something l am grateful for everyday. AlhamduLillah. Praise the Lord!
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