Traveling With A Timid Child

Image source

For children, traveling should be an exciting time. It should be an opportunity to explore new horizons, see the world outside of their own and gain experiences that you can only learn through doing rather than seeing. It makes sense that, as parents, you want your children to be able to travel and enjoy the time you spend away.
Of course, there are some children for whom the idea might be more difficult. Whether it be because of special needs or just a general timidity about the world around them, for some children, they need their comfort zone. They find their strength in being in the same area, and the idea of stepping outside of that is daunting, to say the least.
There is no point trying to force a fearful child to be more embracing of exploring if they don’t feel comfortable. As the old saying goes: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. You can’t suddenly imbue a love of traveling into your children, but there are things you can do to help them on their way.
1. Choose Destinations That Aren’t Intimidating
It might be a foreign escape to a quiet Nordic log cabin or a specialist camp with retreat facilities a little closer to home – but the point is the same. Rather than going away and being surrounding by huge numbers of people, tourists, and new experiences, you keep things quieter. This allows adjustment to happen slowly, with a timid child being able to dip their toe into being in busy areas rather than being forced into it.
At the very least, ensure that wherever you are staying has somewhere they can bolt to. Even in a big, bustling city for a weekend away, you can make sure they have the peace and tranquility of a quiet hotel room to return to. Choose your destinations with this in mind; nothing too loud or brash, but still offering plenty to explore and learn from.
2. Allow Them To Take A Friend
While holidays are about family bonding time, there’s no reason you can’t do this and bring one of their friends with them. This is particularly something to consider if you have an only child; otherwise, your child might feel more pressure to act like an ‘adult’. That’s going to mean they are more focused on that than on actually enjoying themselves.
If you are friendly with the parents of your child’s friend, you can even work an exchange program. You can take them on day trips over spring break; while your child will go with them for a weekend away in summer.
3. Let Them Choose
As a traveler, there are likely many things you want to see and do – but don’t drag your child along to them. There’s no point insisting they will love it when there; if they feel coerced, then they won’t be able to relax.
Instead, let them choose the activities for at least 50% of the holiday. As their confidence grows, they will expand out and be willing to try more new things – so let them, guide them, and eventually the travel bug will have bitten them too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *