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What I have learnt travelling with kids

We have just returned from nearly 6 weeks away travelling with our two boys, who are 9 and 6 ½. I may have been overly idealistic (or naive) when I pictured our holiday. I was quickly reminded that travelling with kids is hard work.

Here are a few things that I have learnt from travelling with kids that relates to how we lead:

What I have learnt travelling with kids.

Fill their cup.

We averaged around 16,000 steps daily on our holiday, which is a lot for little legs. We went to see some historical sites, which may not be super interesting to a six-year-old. We soon learnt that we needed to get the balance right to fill up their cups. Interesting: in Portugal, mini golf was one of the things the boys loved the most.

Leadership learning: Find the interests and strengths of team members. It leads to improved team performance, motivation, engagement, personal growth, and a positive and productive work environment. Discuss strengths individually or as a team and what interests them at work and outside work. It will help build relationships and trust. Check my article on Thriving Teams, in particular the section on Relationships, Trust and Psychological Safety.

How are you filling your team's cup?

What I have learnt travelling with kids

Allow time to rest.

A week into the trip, we were all exhausted. The boys were over-tired and not listening and being altogether crazy. We had to slow down and allow them to catch up on sleep. A solid 12 hours is what they needed. Slow down to go fast.

"In nature, nothing blossoms all year around".

Leadership learning: The importance of maintaining a balanced life. Notice that I didn’t say work/life balance! As a leader, set the tone for your team, role model the balance, create boundaries and prevent burnout. Have conversations about the importance of recharging. Act as a role model as I did by taking a big holiday 😊.

How are you slowing down to go faster?

We deal with change differently.

I was surprised at how homesick my youngest was when being away. He’d ask to look at my phone to look on google maps, and when I’d open my phone the next time I was navigating somewhere on our trip, I found that he was looking at our home's aerial and street view. (Heart explosion).

Leadership learning: We all deal with change differently. Tailor how you support your team when going through changes. Assess how people respond, have open conversations about how people are feeling, where possible, and offer choice and autonomy. Some team members will need more support than others. Show empathy and create an environment of understanding and collaboration. This will enhance their resilience. Check out my article staying resilient in times of uncertainty.

How are you supporting your people through change?

What I have learnt travelling with kids

My final tips when travelling with kids:

  • Always go out for a meal with Uno. In 2018 I went to South America and, whilst doing the Inca Trail, played Uno with other travellers, which we called WUT (World Uno Tournament). I explained to my kids that they were competing in WUT!

  • I felt a bit guilty that the kids would miss 3 ½ weeks of school, so I got them (and myself) a travel journal. It was a great way to get them to write about their trip; we would collect tickets for flights or things we went to and stick them in too. For my youngest, he’d write a few words and draw pictures. It will be a great keepsake too.

  • As we went to Portugal, Spain and France, there were three different languages to learn. We practised with the kids some simple greetings, thankyous, and numbers so they could speak a little while we were there. We’d practice when we were travelling between places.

  • To keep things fun, we came up with European alter-egos:

    • Clarita Cinza

    • Benimore Cinza

    • Jackimo Cinza, and

    • Javier Cinza

Please note: Cinza is the colour grey in Portuguese; it sounded better than Gris, which is grey in Spanish.

Although the trip was hard work, we had the best time. We created some amazing memories, ate delicious food (we are a few shades darker and a few kgs heavier) and experienced different cultures.

Now back to reality.

P.S. Here are a few ways I can help develop your leaders or team:

  1. Join our next Thriving Leader Program and be part of an interactive leadership coaching group starting on the 16th of October.

  2. I have 3 places left for 1:1 Executive Coaching for the rest of this year, please email if you are interested in securing a place.

  3. If you’d like to catch up for a virtual coffee please book a time in my calendar.

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