Family Travel: What about children learning to work?

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Family Travel: What about children learning to work?

Family Travel: Teaching Children to Work

Question: While traveling, how can children learn to work? Isn’t it all pleasure and play?

Children Learn to Work In short, it’s possible for children to learn to work while traveling. In some cases, travel can even encourage a work ethic more naturally than at home! A common misconception is that long-term travellers are moving from hotel to hotel, eating out every night, never sleeping in the same bed twice. The reality is that we do what Brent calls “long-travel,” or “extended travel.” We travel slowly, staying longer than two weeks and up to a few months at a time in a given location. This gives us the ability to search out opportunities for the whole family to work, whether that be by doing yard work, car maintenance, helping out a neighbour, and so on. Sometimes we do humanitarian work, as we are currently doing in Greece. Traveling slowly can give us more opportunities to work than we would have had had we stayed in one place.

Chores that we would do at home still need to be done on the road. Brent takes care of daily things like car maintenance, and some of the children help him. Daily tasks of life happen whether you’re living in one place or in many places. Laundry still needs to be done, meals need to be cooked, tables set, and dishes washed. In some cases, we actually do more chores on the road than we did at home, as each time we move into a new place we do a spring-cleaning.

Finally, travel allows chores to be an educational experience, as we see how different cultures go about the daily tasks of life. Recycling, for example, varies according to country. Shopping for groceries is different according to culture, with anything from a fancy shopping centre with options laid out in tidy aisles to street markets and specialized shops. We face work challenges according to different cultures and the way those cultures might face them, as well as the tools they might use.
In the end, yes! The kids do work. Work is part of our family life, and doesn’t stop when we’re on the road!

Family Travel: Teaching Children to Work

Brent and Stacey-jean Inion
Brent and Stacey-jean Inion
Brent and Stacey-jean Inion, parents of nine (including four children adopted with special needs), 2014 National Geographic Travelers of the Year and the National Geographic Travelers People's Choice Travelers of the Year. They love to laugh, to read and to explore as a family. The secret to their marital bliss is an early morning cup of freshly brewed coffee before the children awake.

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