Many people view summer vacation as a time to get away from all of their responsibilities, and enjoy themselves in their favorite location in the world. Though the idea of spending time alone can be alluring to some, spending time with one’s family is actually scientifically proven to be more fulfilling, and much more enjoyable.

Vacations are perfect opportunities for parents to bond with their children, and give them the invaluable gift of time spent together. Aside from the joys of playing on the beach and sharing laughter together, these types of interactions are known as “attachment play,” and is vital for emotional growth in children. Essentially, you as a parent are giving your children your undivided attention, which they understand as you reveling in every second you spend together. This effectively builds their self esteem.

Almost every parent understands just how important and beneficial spending time with their kids is, but few may know that taking them on vacation can actually enhance their brain development. Time spent with your children outside of home can exercise two areas of their brains that react to playing and visual stimulation. For example, giving your a child piggyback ride stimulates the “play” area, while taking them on a hike to experience nature and see animals and plantlife stimulates the visual area. Doing both can reduce stress levels in children, and allow them to relax in terms of emotions, unlike the experiences they have at home, where much less mental stimulation tends to take place. As parents begin to relax, so do their children.

By taking your children on vacation with you, you are also exercising their explorative nature, which is essential for going on to live a rich, fulfilling life. This creates a drive within them that, when applied to the working world, can set them up for a great deal of success. It also improves their social skills, concentration, and cognitive abilities.

Though studies are still being conducted, many researchers believe there could be a connection between vacations and higher IQ’s in children. Because of the cognitive benefits that come with taking your children on holiday, there is a theory that their levels of intelligence are increased accordingly. Exposing children to new and exciting environments can trigger several areas of the brain, exercising them not unlike muscles in the body. The frontal lobe is enhanced through this stimulation, which can improve one’s stress regulation, concentration, and ability to learn.

No matter where you and your family are traveling in the world, the benefits that both you and your children experience are endless. While their young minds are being positively molded through unique experiences and bonding with their parents, they are also creating memories that will last a lifetime.