Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why you should travel with your kiddos, one at a time!

With having four kids, there’s always this problem of not paying enough attention to any particular child, even though they may need or long for the extra loving at times. We’ve had instances where the kids confided in us that they really wanted to spend time with just me and my wife. However as full-time working parents, it is really not easy to find the extra time despite whatever guilt we may feel. Whenever possible though, we do try to bring them out on a one-on-one basis, be it for just that few short hours and that helped a little.
I decided to take that a step further, and have a one-on-one overseas bonding trip with each and every one of my kids just before they enter primary school. It all started out last December when I won a pair of tickets to Korea and was at a dilemma on who to bring along. Everyone thought that it would have been me and the wife, but she decided that she can’t bear to leave all the kids back home while we travelled, and suggested that I should just bring Steffi along just before she starts formal school.
We ended up having great fun exploring Seoul on our own, with no fixed itineraries. Visiting the old palaces, doing ice-skating at the Seoul City Square, ate live octopuses, had awesome BBQ along the roadside stalls and experienced snow for the very first time! And Steffi had all of me to herself throughout.
Leroy remembered my promise to him that it would be his turn this year, although I can’t recall if it was really a slip of my tongue last year. Anyway he never bought my excuse of not having enough cash to bring him on such a trip too. However I did manage to bargain his trip down from his initial demand of a far-fetched country with snow, to a coastal paradise instead (because the budget airline was having a sale to Gold Coast)! You see, the destination didn’t really matter to him, for it was really the overseas trip with just daddy that he truly wanted. He sure couldn’t contain his excitement and was asking me almost on a daily basis, on how many more days to the trip, a full month before!

It was our first trip to Australia, but I had to leave all the planning to the very last minute due to work. I didn’t even know we needed a VISA for travel to Australia and was caught by surprise at the airport but luckily we got that rectified onsite (having to pay extra though).
Every single day was a surprise to him as I only figured out where to go the night before. He definitely became a “super boy” when it comes to holidays and was able to travel long distances on foot as we visited 3 theme parks, a farm and a wildlife sanctuary over 6 days. It was so unlike him where he would complain non-stop about walking too much back in Singapore!
These trips were definitely fun, but more importantly it gave me the chance to reaffirm my love for each of my children. These short overseas trips also allowed me to learn more about them, far more intimately than I would be able to back home, where I would easily be distracted by work or by the other siblings. Just like what some travellers like to say, one really gets to know a person after traveling with him or her! I was able to sense their genuine happiness during these trips and boy do I feel accomplished as a daddy as well! Being able to take care of a 6 year old all by myself while having loads of fun doing so too! They also opened up to me like never before, speaking animatedly about their enjoyment of our various new experiences and of their fears too.
But wait, that’s not all. After the brief period away from the family, both Steffi and Leroy also mentioned that they missed mom and the rest of their siblings towards the end of their respective trips. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and despite the constant bickering and fighting for attention back home, family and home is still where the heart belongs, for the kids, and for me as well. So daddies out there, perhaps you would like to consider one such trip with your little ones as well!

This article first appeared on Yahoo.

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