Family holidays are so important for kids because they help build connections, says study 9 months ago

Family holidays are so important for kids because they help build connections, says study

Hell-bent on making your children's childhood choc-a-block with happy memories?

Did you go on a family holiday this year? Was there protests?

Why? Well, research has suggested that family vacations are not only fun and a luxury – they are essential. Why? They make our kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

In fact, according to a new study from the University of Toronto, the gift of an experience, like a family vacation, is proven to be a more pro-social, connecting present than any material possession.

"An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it—like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa—and is more intensely emotional than a material possession,” says lead researcher Cindy Chan. “If you want to give [someone] something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience."

Even better – and maybe more important in the long run? Experiencing a holiday together doesn’t just bring us closer to our kids, it also makes the whole family happier – even long after the trip is over.

And this isn't the only study that has shown just how important family trips are.

One British survey found almost half of respondents stated their most favourite childhood memory is one of a family vacation, and 55 percent of respondents said “that these holidays have given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

According to John McDonald, Chief Executive of the Family Holiday Association, an organisation dedicated to helping lower-income families fund low-cost getaways, a family vacation can act as a “happiness anchor.” When families are faced with challenging times, reflecting on memories of happy times can be very powerful.

“By using these memories as an anchor to take us back to more cheerful moments, we’re often able to approach problems with a fresh sense of perspective,” he says.