Summer has always been about travel and family for me. As a child I spent most of my summers traveling to different countries but they all had something in common, we always went to at least one location where we could spend time with family. I spent many summers in Germany, France or in California visiting my uncle and his family. It was always amazing to visit different places, see new faces, try new foods and learn about a new culture .
My favorite part of our trips was always time spent with family. That’s when I connected with my cousins. I knew we wouldn’t see each other again until the next summer so I made sure to just take in the time we had together. It was always so easy just to pick up from where we left off the previous year. It never felt strained or foreign to me.
I come from a culture that keeps extended family close. I believe that having them in my life and the life of my daughter helps build a strong, healthy unit. Naturally, kids bond with their parents and siblings first, but extended family members can also provide the emotional and physical support that they need. My grandparents, aunts and uncles always helped and supported my parents and I. It’s not all roses though, they also tend to give unsolicited advice, opinions on the way you dress, the way you behave and the choices you make. Honestly, the good outweighs the bad. My extended family members offer support when times get tough. I always have someone in my life that can watch my daughter or help me cope if any health crisis arises or just to give me a break! Another advantage is that my daughter gets to bond and develop trust with other members of the family. When extended family members are involved in child rearing, it reportedly also helps improve self esteem and self worth in kids. The relationships children build with extended family members can provide them with a better sense of identity and support, improving the way they feel about themselves. Children are also exposed to different interests and ideas from extended family. My parents teach my child some very important lessons that my husband and I may not be able to teach. She can sometimes tell my sister things she may not be able to tell me.
Last summer my daughter and I spent a few weeks in California visiting family. We had lots of fun and family bonding!
We’ve continued our tradition of spending quality time with our extended family. We have also started the tradition with my husband’s family. I hope that my little girl will continue the tradition when she grows up. I want her to value and cherish her extended family members the way that I do.
How are you spending your summer?