Friday, 6 November 2009
Actually, funnily enough, we don't travel a whole lot, except to move residence. And when we do, it's usually to head to a beach. My advice on how to give small children a cultural experience: wait as long as you can. Wait until they're older and for the time being, stick to places where there is a pool and / or a beach.
You may be surprised that a Globetrotter Parent such as myself would give such advice but seriously, how much is a four-year old going to really get out of the Roman forum (heck, without a guide explaining to me what all those broken stones are supposed to be - I don't get much out of the forum) or even the Colosseum? We lived in Rome for three years and my daughter still has no inkling as to what the Colosseum was for. I do not regret not having explained Roman history to my completely uninterested three-year old.
Your eight or nine year old will appreciate the Parthenon in Greece and the Pyramids in Egypt much more than your four-year old. Your twelve and thirteen year old even more so. Trying to stuff culture and history into a mind whose preoccupation is with getting fed, running around, and playing in water is an uphill battle. Leave it be for now.
"But my five year old will love the Eiffel tower!" I hear you say. Yes, and your nine-year old will love it even more.
That doesn't mean it's not worth taking your child to Egypt on vacation. But how about taking them for some swimming and snorkeling and leaving the scubadiving - and the pyramids - until they are old enough to think the activity worth the effort?