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5 Reasons Why Family Vacations Are Way Better for Kids’ Happiness than Buying Toys

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In this manic, consumerist world where even parenting is relegated to a series of shortcuts to save on time and money, old-fashioned family together time has fallen on the wayside. Today’s typical family is glued to their gadgets during downtimes, with even the kids addicted to phones or tablets mom and dad buy for them.

On the other hand, taking a family vacation together can do more for a family’s togetherness, and increase happiness points for the children in the future.

Here are five key reasons why taking a family vacation is important:

#1. Investing in vacations results in higher payback than spending on toys.

If you spend your money on some expensive toy or gadget your kid’s been whining for, happiness will prove to be short-term when they get tired of the new possession after a week or a month. Its better to invest in traveling with the whole family.

According to psychologist and best-selling author Oliver James, “Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory. So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense.”

In the meantime, you make memories with your children, bond with them, talk in depth, and share interests and unforgettable moments. Vacations bring families together, not keep them apart like toys and gadgets do.

#2. Travel improves a child’s brain development.

“What is less widely known is that holidays can also advance brain development in children,” child psychotherapist and Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health in the UK, Dr. Margot Sunderland explained in The Telegraph.

Whether you go for a nature retreat or explore a heritage town, traveling activates a number of critical areas in the brain, especially the “play and seek” systems in children, usually left unexercised at home.


Activating these systems “brings about 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 behaviors that may last a lifetime.” Dr. Sunderland said.

#3. Family vacations de-stress both parents and kids.

Adults aren’t the only ones who experience stress dealing with day to day life. A 2015 survey involving 754 children found that 79 percent of kids between 8 to 14 years old regularly experience stress. On the other hand, 77 percent reported the absence of stress whenever their parents spent time with them.

“Parents who want to help their kids reduce stress should consider using a vacation day,” the report further said.

“Good relationships emerge out of simply having interactions with the people in our families under conditions that are not highly stressed,” agreed Dr. Lotte Bailyn, professor emerita at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the US.

#4. Memories forged during family vacations serve as “happiness anchors.”

In a British survey, 49 percent of people reported their happiest memories occurred during family vacations. One third even vividly recalled details of family holidays from their childhood. Furthermore, one-fourth of respondents often brought up memories of these happy times to help them hurdle tough times.

“We consider these to be a ‘happiness anchor’ – 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,” John McDonald, director of the Family Holiday Association said in an interview with Huffington Post.

In fact, a UK national charity exists called the Family Holiday Association which aids struggling families reap the long-term benefits of family vacations by helping them go on holiday together.

#5. Taking photos makes people happier.

Source: Pinterest

Research from the Yale School of Management points out that “the act of taking pictures (whether it’s on a bus tour or eating out at a restaurant) boost people’s engagement with and enjoyment of whatever activity they’re participating in.” And what’s more enjoyable than looking at family vacation photos?

As long as the whole family remembers to participate in each moment instead of focusing on picture-taking, experiencing a vacation together is an investment that brings its worth back in spades.

H/T: Smart Parenting




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