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Memorable Snaps: Why Traveling With Your Kid Is So Special

Photograph by Keryn Means

Mothers, do you ever take your children on adventures? If you have more than one child, do you ever go on individual adventures with each of them? I never did until this past summer and I am now a believer. The one-on-one time with your child can transform your relationship, especially if there are babies and toddlers in the house.

I had the opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic with my oldest, now 5 years old, this summer and explore with him. It was just he and I. His 2-year-old brother stayed home with his dad where he could nap, go to bed early and add one more photo to the “why my toddler is crying” album. This is the first trip I had taken alone with my oldest since his baby brother was born.

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My son and I had enjoyed almost three years of exploring together before his brother came along. We’d been to China, across Seattle, around the East Coast and more. Just when he was getting through those tough toddler years we added a baby into the mix, making our travel dynamic a little more complicated. It also meant a whole lot less mom time for my oldest. We both missed that special time we used to share. So, when the opportunity popped up I jumped at it.

Photograph by Keryn Means
Photograph by Keryn Means

One-on-one time

My 5-year-old doesn’t take naps anymore. This trip meant that we didn’t have to head back to the hotel for a few hours in the middle of the day for the baby to sleep and the rest of us just hang out waiting for the baby to wake up. My oldest and I played on the beach, ate ice cream and hopped around to the different pools instead. We ate dinner and went to bed later than we normally do at home. We said hello to a flamingo near our hotel room, lizards crawling up trees and bugs — without my attention drawn elsewhere by a toddler on the run. It was magical.

Photograph by Keryn Means
Photograph by Keryn Means

Watch your child grow

I was able to watch my son mature before my eyes; something I might have missed if my attention were split between both of my boys. My oldest has been afraid of people in costumes for years. The resort we were staying at had a kids program that featured a local television character. Of course this character showed up at the kids club and breakfasts. I saw my son going from a bit timid and afraid to trailing after this big blue dog. I turned to a few other parents when I saw my son sitting next to the man in the giant dog costume and almost burst into tears. My son was conquering his fears before my very eyes. I was able to give him all of my support to make that leap he desperately wanted to make, but just wasn’t sure he was ready for it yet.

Photograph by Keryn Means
Photograph by Keryn Means

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Do something just for them

When I travel I normally have a 2 and 5-year-old in tow. These are two very different age groups in terms of activities, even if they are only three years apart. My oldest and I can paddle board together, while his brother just jumps off the board and I have to continually fish him out. We can kayak, swim with dolphins, eat ice cream until we burst, play in the sand for hours and visit adventure parks. Our activity range opened up and gave us more options to enjoy our time on the island without my youngest in tow.

Photograph by Keryn Means
Photograph by Keryn Means

After five days in the Dominican Republic, we still hadn’t had enough of each other. There was so much more bonding time to be enjoyed, but we had to get back to the rest of our family. This trip invigorated my need to travel with both of my boys together and separately. When my youngest is a bit older I’ll take him on a mother/son adventure too. My boys are so different I’m sure he will have something new to show me somewhere in the world.

So, moms (and dads!) will you take your child on an adventure just for him or her? I hope you do.

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