Working as an owner of a small adventure company in Costa Rica I have had every family you can imagine on my tours. During over 200 different Costa Rica Family vacations I can only rave about the excellent parents I have had the opportunity to meet and have picked up many parenting skills from many of them (even though I only have 3 dogs).
Everyone knows that vacation time is usually based on “what she wants” and a little bit of some fun for “him”. What is not usually discussed is the health benefits of vacation. The reason it gets no attention is because most vacations are just one week. Most ways to improve your health are usually stretched out over 8 week diets, 30 day abs, or a lifestyle change of granola and milk from a virgin cow.
If the trip is for “him” or “her” just remember that its “them” that can reap some positive health benefits from traveling. I am not a doctor but I have toured plenty of Doctors across Costa Rica and many have agreed with my list.
1.) Lowers Stress – Kids these days are stressed out just like the parents are. Having a week off of doing what the family wants to do is often something new and relaxing for the kid. Being in a hotel room and jumping on the bed for 5 minutes or slamming their brother in the face with a pillow is all ways of getting stress out. The activities on vacation are usually filled with kids clubs, rafting, ziplining, or hiking through the jungle and these are all action packed adventures that will lower the stress level.
2.) Expands the mind – Going on vacation expands the mind. Our world as connected as it is still struggles with thinking a little bit outside the box. A vacation opens the small minds up to new cultures and ideas. This is a health benefit of the mind that your kids can take back home.
3.) Unstructured Activities – Did you ever realize that much of the week at home is structured activities. If it is piano practice, to soccer practice, to honor society, then 2 hours of homework, dinner, shower, and 1 hour of TV and bed… This is a problem and does not allow for kids to develop their imagination. Being on vacation often allows time for building a sand-castle (…what is a “sand-castle” – an app?). It also allows for you to sit in a park and watch pigeons and just be someplace that ignites the mind. Very important to always have some downtime to allow for this to happen on vacation.
4.) Opportunity for New Eating Habits – Many kids have diets that really should not be served in most prisons. We are what we eat. Many places you travel especially Costa Rica have more locally grown food. Understanding the process of what we eat and where it comes from is important on all vacations. Many diets are new foods that might ignite an interest in certain types of foods. For example I have had parents tell me after visiting Costa Rica that their kids fell in love with fruit. I do a thing on every tour where I have a fruit of the day and this allows kids to try some of the best tasting fruits of the tropics. This ignites the kids to think of fruit as a tasty food from enjoying the mangos, papaya, and many other Costa Rican fruits.
5.) Facing Fears – Afraid of heights sometimes is a serious issue and its not safe to fight it. Other times it’s a minimal fear and a little adventure on a trip is all you need to have your kid asking to go to flight school. Facing fears can be of many different things on vacation. The idea of opening children up to different languages and cultures is one sense of understanding the difference of people on the planet and getting over a fear of association with other cultures. The other fear is a little adventure such as rafting, ziplining, or even horseback riding. Everyday life back home usually does not open up the new opportunities to challenge fears of such. Allow your child to challenge some of their fears on vacation and you will bring home a more confident child than you arrived with. This will enhance overall health for your kids.
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