Travel is Good for Kids Brain Development

Why travel with your kids? Because every new sight or sound contributes to kids brain development, writes Renee Krosch.

‘I can’t believe how much he/she has grown!’

How often do people say that about a baby? Of course they grow, but the rate at which a baby’s brain develops is quite extraordinary. New sights, new sounds and even new smells all contribute to this development. And we have plenty of these experiences when we travel.

“From the moment a child is born, its nervous system is developing new connections between every nerve cell, in relation to every new experience,” says Ian Hickie, Executive Director of the Brain & Mind Research Institute.

“Every new sight, every new sound, every new smell causes the brain to rapidly develop synaptic connections, that is connections between the brain cells, to capture that experience.”

The key point is that the experience is ‘new’. And travel is one of the best ways to provide this new experience.

“It’s the new experiences that have the biggest impact. The same experiences just tend to reinforce what’s already known,” says Professor Hickie.

So going to the same playground or same playgroup week after week is great in many other ways, but in terms of maximising brain development, not so.

“The more a child is exposed to culture, language, music and other stimuli that is different, the more likely their brains are to capture those experiences, encode them, and provide them with the capacity to relate to them as get older.

“The greater the diversity the more diverse the brain development.

“You want to learn languages as early as you can – not just so you can learn the language, but for cognitive capacity, for brain development.”

Listen to the full interview with Ian Hickie here.

Renee Krosch is a mother of two and producer at 702 ABC Sydney.