Why Should We Take Our Kids To India?
Krithiga Subramanian Bothra, MPH
I truly believe that many of life’s greatest lessons are learned
outside of the classroom, and this is certainly true of family
vacations spent in India. Some of my fondest childhood memories
are of lazy summers spent there, soaking in the culture and spending
time with extended family.(Krithiga Subramanian Bothra is a health education consultant and mom to a five year old girl and two year old boy, both experienced little travelers! She is also a production assistant for Baby Hindustani. For more information visit www. babyhindustani.com. )
Every wall of the house was a museum of family history, filled with
portraits from the past. There were stories of colorful
relatives, like the great grandfather who practiced ayurvedic medicine,
collected weight lifting equipment… and levitated!
Large extended families provide ample playmates for your child.
No need to schedule playdates! I remember having a ball exploring
the “secret passageways” of my parent’s ancestral homes. It was
an Enid Blyton story come to life! Cousins can compare and
contrast their lifestyles, everything from school to sports. And
after the visit, they have instant pen pals! Children enjoy
all the attention from doting grandparents, aunts and uncles, not to
mention the home-cooked meals and goodies!
You’ll probably get no better chance to immerse your children in their
mother tongue. Once, when my brother was five, he returned from
India speaking our language to all our puzzled neighbors! Though
he soon switched back to English, the lessons were never
forgotten. Not surprisingly, young children pick up languages
easily. Take advantage of this while you can! I had Tamil
lessons one year – the teacher came to my house early every morning and
taught me how to read and write. To this day, I can read
restaurant menus and road signs, which comes in handy when we’re
Once you venture outside the house, your child will see the India of
contrasts, everything from opulence to extreme poverty. It helps
to give your children perspective and see how fortunate they are, that
maybe that video game they MUST have isn’t so important, after
all. Some children return with a mission to help those in need,
thereby stepping outside their comfortable cocoon. What a great
way to teach them about compassion and empathy.
Travel within India provides adventure with a fun geography
lesson! Trains are a great, kid friendly way to see the
country. Your kids can roam around and explore and even chat with
their neighbors. It’s a good way to see the changing landscape and
villages along the rail route. And there’s something really exciting
about sleeping on the top tier of the train compartment!
Children can enjoy visits to temples and palaces, learning about
history and native arts. Even small children can appreciate the
hidden passages and colorful statues, which will surely lead to
questions about the great epics.
So you’ve decided to go… now what? There are many benefits to
visiting India with your children. We’ve taken our children twice
within the past five years and hope to plan another visit soon!
However, unlike a trip to D.C. or San Diego, a trip to India requires a
lot of forethought and planning. Watch out for the next article
in the India Family Travel series: Getting Ready to Visit
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