New Years Resolutions: Family Happiness & Travel
With the start of the New Year, many families make themselves promises to engage in healthier behaviors, to jump-start in earnest pursuit of family happiness. New Year’s resolutions notwithstanding, the pursuit of family happiness is not only a worthwhile endeavor, but it’s also life-affirming and can result in a lasting change to overall well-being. Science has revealed that traveling together and creating life long memories with our kids is very important.
To delve deeper into the ways to achieve family happiness through Travel, we recently spoke with Dimitris Flamouris, a Positive Psychology Coach and a keynote speaker. Dimitris focuses on everyday relationship issues and loves to put structure to our mental chaos, through a deep understanding of true human nature. Dimitris is also an author. His first book, about psychological relationships, is a best-seller in Greece and it was voted as one of the ten best Well Being books in Greece in 2018.
Dimitris, how is your definition of happiness within the context of family?
There is no widely accepted definition for happiness in the psychology literature. For me, happiness in a family context is mutual understanding and support. Savouring the beautiful moments and building resilience from the difficult ones. It’s a common effort towards adding meaning to our lives.
What can parents do to make kids happy and kids to make their parents happy? Is there a secret ingredient?
Let’s start by saying that it is an asymmetrical relationship. And it should be. Parents bear most, if not all, of the responsibility. So, what parents can do is make a great effort to understand the needs of their children and show them respect and remind them to play and be children. Children should just be themselves. It’s enough!
Science has revealed travel is one of the best methods to maintain happiness, how and why?
The short answer is that traveling is an experience and experiences make us happier than objects. It’s called hedonic adaption. We have a natural tendency to get accustomed to things. But experiences tend to grow in us and we draw happiness long after we had them.
At Kids love Greece, our motto is Let’s create amazing family memories that last forever. How important are family memories? Why? What is the connection between happiness, travel, and memories in the context of a family?
Our personality is formed mostly through the early stages of childhood. Strong emotional moments stay with us for a lifetime and determine who we become as a person. Traveling is a rare opportunity for the whole family to be together. A chance for those all-important family bonds to form. And all that while being in a happy travel mood.
What are the benefits of families traveling together?
Family closeness should be sought whenever possible. Traveling offers the perfect opportunity as parents can be with their kids without their every day worries. They can devote their full attention to them and this is exactly what a child needs from her parent. Furthermore, traveling induces a sense of exploration, wonder, and curiosity to everybody, which means that parents can come to closer contact with their inner child, thus being able to relate even stronger with their kids.
Lots of our clients are multi-generations traveling together (grandparents, kids, grandkids) or even skip generation traveling (grandparents and grandkids). Why do you think it is a growing trend?
It’s so nice to hear that three generations of families travel together. I can only guess that this is because life expectancy is ever-increasing and grandparents are healthier than ever. Additionally, traveling becomes cheaper and safer and more accessible leading to such a trend. Skipping a generation, however, is slightly more of a concern to me. It may mean that parents are too busy with work to travel with their kids. It depends on the age and on other factors, of course, but children do need their parents. At the same time, I can certainly envisage some occasions were skipping a generation can have some benefits.
Give the gift of travel to your families is a new trend. What does psychology say about that?
Psychology would totally agree. Traveling gives us the opportunity to meet other people and come to understand them. We become less judgmental of different cultures, the more we come to contact with them, and we can also become more compassionate towards others but also ourselves.
Do young kids remember vacations, how do they benefit?
Well, not even adults remember vacations. Psychology says that we usually don’t remember a past event, but we remember our last narration of the event. The event becomes distorted in our memory as time passes. We remember the photos or videos. But traveling gives us a great story to tell. Even if kids of some ages don’t remember them, having the knowledge that they have experienced them, adds to their later sense of identity.
What is your advice for families who hesitate to plan a family trip together
I understand. It can be very burdensome and difficult. Good planning is required. That is why traveling experts such as Kids love Greece, can make a huge difference to the actual holiday experience. And it is an experience not to be missed!
Can you share a tip for a happy family traveling?
Don’t cram your schedule with lots of things to do and see. Be present as much as you can. Your kids can help you learn how to do it. Allow yourself to play. It’s mostly about spending with your family, not seeing every monument there is. Enjoy!
Thank you Dimitris, for talking with us about family happiness and Travel!
If you want to read more, have a look at dimitrisflamouris.com
You can purchase the “Psycho-logical Relationships” at Amazon.
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