One of the many questions we at Northern Spain Travel have posed ourselves is whether children are born adventurous, or do they have to be taught?
My name is Stephanie Mutsaerts, the founder of Northern Spain Travel, and these are my two Spanish – Canadian kids. The videos in this series represent what we at Northern Spain Travel do and stand by today, but also they are sweet morsels of our experience thirteen years ago when I travelled by bike along the Camino de Santiago with my sons Oliver, age 9, and Tasio, age 6.
This was our first Camino de Santiago trip and every day was an adventure. If you asked them today which of the many adventures we have experienced together they loved most, they would without hesitation select this particular journey on the Saint James Way. They are now 22 and 19, and that spirit of adventurer that we developed as a family is with them to this day.
Give your kids the tools to live and learn under challenging situations
The answer to this is yes, but also no. More often than not this quality that is attractive in a grown up can be fostered in kids at a young age. Over time, through exposure to exploration – a word that can be applied to many different life experiences – children become more open to new experiences as adults. Allowing children the opportunity to learn through doing, watching, and exposure to adventure, gives them a chance to shine.
True as that may be, when we demand more from our kids than they are comfortable with, or if we see them resist participation, we need to be soft and hard at the same time. I have exposed my children to so many adventurous experience because I am incredibly passionate about those things. I want to foster the same passion deep within them. Although it’s not always easy to do, focus your efforts on making them feel comfortable about what they are doing – actually what you are all doing together. Skill and confidence will naturally follow from this approach. This is all part of the slow travel concept. We have plenty of time to do adventurous activities on their terms.
My kids and I would sing songs like “We Are the Champions” when the going got tough. The spirit of peddling hard to make it up the hill and the ensuing praise of their achievement would mean the world to them. We would celebrate our day’s outing on the Camino de Santiago with a trip to the ice cream parlour or a delicious foot and back massage.
By praising my kids’ adventurous accomplishments they come to understand that qualities such as bravery, resilience, and effort are valuable and useful and that hard work pays off. These attributes evolve into willing and keen little adventure machines, ready for more action and more challenges.
Honestly, this is the biggest key to just about anything with kids. As you know, we’re big believers that outdoor family adventures shouldn’t have to end when we have kids, so our kids have been adventuring along with us since birth. They are constantly exposed to the outdoors, so much so that they’re often more comfortable there than they are indoors. They learn by watching us, by experiencing life side-by-side with our whole family.
Discover the heart of this magical region, where a perfect combination of first-class experiences, exceptional gastronomy and sensational accommodation gives you the most authentic Spanish experience.
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