Originally featured on Dandelion Moms.
Here is a continuation of my last post, Part 1, on the incredible skills kids and parents learn while traveling.
This is a biggie! Effective communication skills are essential for success in all areas of life. While traveling, kids meet new people everyday, hear new languages, dialects, and accents, and learn ways to communicate using only gestures and smiles. Kids and adults in other countries love to practice their English and teach words in their language. Acquiring foreign language skills is a huge confidence builder for kids!
Kids and teens love to talk, but often struggle with listening well. This skill is so important for life-long success and traveling is a great way to practice it! Hearing new accents and having to decipher and process what they hear on a regular basis, kids learn how to listen carefully to what others are saying – no “tuning out” allowed! Locals in other countries LOVE to chat and ask all sorts of questions, often with heavy accents, and kids learn how to listen and pick up enough bits and pieces to understand the gist of the question and answer back. Last but not least, kids learn how important eye contact, nods of understanding, and smiles are to listening well in any conversation – especially ones with language barriers.
Kids can learn all types of negotiation skills while traveling – as long as their parents know how to do it effectively! Discussing taxi fares with crafty taxi drivers, haggling at outdoor markets where prices can be inflated dramatically, working out details with tour guides who change the itinerary without notice, and even figuring out who gets the window seat on the airplane are all ways kids can learn how to negotiate well. The key is to have them do some of the negotiating themselves, like buying souvenirs at the local market where haggling is essential, and have them feel the satisfaction of getting what they want for a fair price.
Leaving their comfort zones behind, kids are thrown into new, uncharted territory where they must find the courage to explore new places, talk to locals, speak in foreign languages, try new foods, take all types of transportation, and experience new and often shockingly different ways of living. By traveling and exploring like locals, kids will have so many new adventures that will give them courage to continue trying new things and will boost their confidence when they return home. They will remember all the new experiences they had and how they overcame their fears and hesitations and these memories will encourage them in the future.
IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS!
Remember, parents, these skills will only be learned while traveling if kids are encouraged to do these things ON THEIR OWN. Although we often feel like they need our help, have them do things all by themselves. The confidence and happiness in their faces after they have overcome their fears and accomplished it by themselves is priceless!
What life skills have your kids learned while traveling? Please share with us!