The Benefits of Travel for Children (Part 3): Fostering Social Skills and Empathy

The Benefits of Travel for Children (Part 3): Fostering Social Skills and Empathy

Interacting with new people, making friends from different backgrounds, and navigating unfamiliar environments during travel can significantly improve children's social skills. Research has shown that these travel experiences contribute to developing empathy and social competence in children. Let's explore a study that highlights the positive impact of travel on children's social and emotional development.

Children from diverse cultural backgrounds playing together

A study by Lickona (2018) published in the Journal of Travel Research investigated the relationship between travel experiences and children's development of social skills and empathy. The study aimed to understand how travel contributes to children's social and emotional growth. It utilized a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative interviews and quantitative measures to gather comprehensive data.

The study involved a diverse sample of children aged 6 to 12 with varying travel experience levels. Qualitative interviews were conducted with children, their parents, and teachers to explore their perceptions of the impact of travel on social skills and empathy. Additionally, quantitative measures were used to assess the children's social competence and empathy levels, comparing those who had travelled extensively with those who had not.

The study’s findings indicated a significant positive association between travel experiences and children's social skills and empathy. Children who had participated in frequent travel exhibited higher levels of social competence, including effective communication, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. These children demonstrated greater adaptability and resilience in unfamiliar environments, which contributed to their social development.

Moreover, the study revealed that travel experiences fostered empathy in children. By engaging with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, children develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for diversity. They learned to empathise with others, respect diverse viewpoints, and navigate social interactions with sensitivity and understanding.

The study also highlighted the role of family dynamics during travel in shaping children's social skills and empathy. Family travel provided opportunities for bonding, shared experiences, and collaborative decision-making, which enhanced children's social interactions and emotional development.

 Kids from diverse backgrounds playing soccer

Travel experiences have a positive impact on children's social skills and empathy. The study conducted by Lickona (2018) showcased the association between travel and the development of social competence and empathy in children. Through travel, children learn to communicate effectively, adapt to new situations, and solve problems, fostering social and emotional growth. Interacting with diverse individuals and experiencing different cultures nurtures empathy, respect, and understanding. So, let's embark on creating memorable adventures while nurturing our children’s social skills and empathy.



Lickona, T. (2018). Travel and the development of social skills and empathy in children. Journal of Travel Research, 56(4), 498-512.

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