As adults, we constantly try to find some time for an outing or a vacation to recharge our lives and rewind, away from the day to day work. The same applies to children. Vacation for them does not necessarily mean a time off to get away from the stress, but a time they look forward to having fun, play and experience new places. During a vacation when parents just do not focus on the day to day work but invest time in spending and playing with their kids, not just the parent-child bonding increases but also elevates the overall personality development of the child. Games like frisbee, building sand castles or a small hike are just not just fun games but also ‘attachment play’ for the child. It enhances the self esteem of he child, your bonding with him and sends them a message that you are there with him and enjoying every bit of it.
Here are few statistics as published by The Telegraph showing how stress filled our lives are and how a vacation with our child is so important from time to time.
- According to Elizabeth Buie, TES, ‘Two-thirds of conversations between parent and child are about daily routine.’
- ‘65 per cent of parents say they only play occasionally with their children.’
- As per Parent-Play survey, Playmobil UK, ‘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.’
- ‘Only a quarter of children say they talk to parents more than once a week about something that matters’-Child of Our Time.
- According to Holt-Lunstad et al, 2015, ‘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.’
Holiday with your child enhances brain development. As identified by Professor Jaak Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist at Washington State University, holidays stimulate two different and vital systems of the brain- The PLAY system and the SEEK system. The PLAY system is triggered every time you take your child to the beach or to a pool and the water washes their feet. The SEEK system is triggered every time you hike or climb with your child stimulating the sense of exploration in them. Holidaying or travelling with your child with these systems triggered has a scientific backbone to it. These systems trigger well-being neurochemicals called opioids, oxytocin and dopamine which reduces the levels of stress and increases happiness. As a result, you bond well as a family and gather more memories and experiences. These positive changes in the brain and the secretion of neurochemicals help your child as they grow up. It provides them with an emotional strength to take risks (SEEK system) and explore ideas (PLAY system) like the ones you see in entrepreneurs. A family holiday stimulates ‘brain growth and maturation in the frontal lobes, the very part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence and well-focused, goal-directed behaviours that may last a lifetime’ according to Panksepp, 2015; Burgdorf et al, 2010.
Enhances Concentration Skills
Research has shown that 20 minutes of time spent in the nature enhances their attention and concentration levels. A walk with your child in nature reduces stress levels and blood pressure levels. Also, it would be a great time for the kids to spend a calm time with their parents and grandparents and the activity further reduces the cholesterol levels.
Research has shown that time spent in the enriched environment during a holiday stimulates the hormones in the frontal lobe of the brain which is a key to higher IQ. Further, a vacation spent with kids in an enriched environment fills in their memories with plenty of experiences, reduces stress, enhances the concentration and attention skills, improves the mental health and cognitive skills and equips the child with skills to learn new things.
Growth of a child is not just attributed to physical health but also mental health for a better life. So next time you have an option between buying your child a latest gadget and a toy and going out on a vacation, you know what to choose for!