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New research: Holidays make children braver

A holiday doesn’t just work wonders for parents, it can see children make leaps and bounds with ‘bravery steps’  too

Knowing the holiday was nearly over, Olivia made a dash for it | Image: Center Parcs

Desperate parents wanting their baby to take its first steps should take a break… literally. New research has revealed that 47% of parents saw their children learn to walk and reach other major development milestones while on holiday.

That includes early changes like being able to stand up and feed themselves, to later, confidence-building experiences like swimming or kicking a football for the first time.

“A different environment makes children feel braver, they try and copy other children and families spend more time together,” says leading behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings. “For older children, a family holiday is often the first time they are allowed to play unsupervised, which also helps their interaction with others.”

The recent survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by Center Parks, found that nearly half could name at least one development breakthrough made by their children while on a holiday. This includes 11% who crawled for the first time, 10% who stood up, 10% who took their first steps and 9% who learned to feed themselves.

More than four in 10 parents (42%) said the time away had also been vital for so-called ‘bravery steps’ like learning to ride a bike, swim or go out and play unsupervised. Holidays are not just good for the kids, as over half (51%) of parents also said it helped them feel more confident and relaxed with their children. This inspires them to go swimming, ride bikes, go down water slides or even become more adventurous with activities like zip wiring and rock climbing, the research added.

Jo adds: “Quality time away from the hustle and bustle of daily lives is so important for families. It provides an opportunity for parents and children to learn and explore new things together which is critical to building confidence. As such, parents and children alike often take their ‘bravery steps’ whilst away – real firsts in both development and family excitement – which can often set them up for a more fearless future.”

Family holiday company Center Parcs have introduced a new children’s Activity Den to encourage bravery steps. 

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