At the start of this summer I was reminded how much I look forward to sounds and smells of season. The sweet aroma of freshly mowed grass, the symphonic melodies of the cicadas in the low-hanging oak trees and especially the warm feel of the bright sun on my face when I join my dog to hang my head out of the minivan window on the way to the grocery store.
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It also reminds me that I only have five summers left with my girls. Just five more until they grow up and go off to college. Sure they will come back to visit, but we know it won’t be exactly the same. Until then, I plan to milk it for all it’s worth by taking my kids on an old-fashioned 3,500 mile road trip to make the most of these five fleeting summers.
Although my hubby and I may not be able to leave the girls a big fat inheritance or give them lots of fancy things right now, what we can give them are “experiences.” We can give them “us,” our time, our love and sweet, sweet memories. Best of all, we can do all cooped up in a minivan for “51 fun-filled hours” across the United States as we embark on an adventure of creating intentional family time, a closer bond and a shared exploration in the wonder of nature and culture.
This self-induced quality time also gives an opportunity to enjoy days of fun and adventure while really putting more focus on the family. It gives us time to really focus on our unit and organically create meaningful conversations without distractions.
Many of today’s kids are caught up in a world of over scheduling and electronics and are preoccupied with texting, cell phones, TV and computers. It’s important now more than ever for youngsters to take time to get “unplugged” from electronics and crazy paces that pull us away from our family and “reconnect” to their own personal development individually and collectively.
Perhaps experiencing a road trip yourself as a child, you understand the profound positive effects that still matter to you as an adult. Now, you know that you want the same thing for your own kids. That’s why family road trips can be more relevant today than ever, because they can help strengthen bonds and memories at the same time.
The following are just some of the many benefits of going on a family road trip adventure. You and your kids can:
10. Spend your day being physically active – Many children (and their parents) spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down. Road trips and exploring new sites provide a wonderful opportunity to move. Running, swimming, jumping, hiking, climbing!
9. Experience success and become more confident – Road trips and family travel can also help kids build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives at school. Let the kids help read the map, pick out the restaurants, write food reviews or make decisions on what attractions you may visit. With its engaging activities and diverse opportunities to succeed, road trips can be a real boost for youngsters.
8. Gain resiliency – The kind of encouragement and nurture kids receive from parents on the road make it a great environment to endure setbacks or try new things - all of which can be growing experiences. How you handle a flat tire, a closed highway, getting lost and finding your way back again, are all great life lessons that can help your children learn how to conquer fears and deal with adversity.
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