The Pre-K Years (3-5 Years Old)
“By this age their language development is so advanced and they’re thinking complex thoughts and have good motor skills, so it’s a good time to travel,” says Dr. Spinks-Franklin. Your kids are now old enough to weigh in on plans and learn the basic history of the place your visiting. They should also be helping by rolling their own suitcases and doing some of their own packing, says Spinks-Franklin.
One caveat though: Any big, transcontinental-trip needs to be planned around potty training.
Dr. Spinks-Franklin says that you can take a child on a transcontinental flight before you start or after your child is totally trained up, but not during. “It’s not fair to potty train during a big life change,” she says, adding that if you do, you can almost certainly expect for your child to regress.
Finally, many parents worry about exposing their children to poverty at this young of an age. Dr. Spinks-Franklin says it’s a non-issue. “I think any age is appropriate for this,” she says, adding that it helps build empathy. Essentially, as soon as your kid grasps the concept of sharing and helping, they’re old enough to also understand empathy, and that’s a perfect time to introduce them to some of the world’s harsh realities. Wheeler agrees; she was surprised by her own children’s lack of reaction to endemic poverty. “When they saw a kid who had almost nothing, all they thought was cool, a playmate!”
Activities to Introduce: Short hikes, climbing, swimming, snorkeling, biking on paths