While many of us are gently and hopefully urging our babies and toddlers into the kind of reliable routine that won’t render the entire family sobbing and senseless, one intrepid dad Stefan Chow is having none of that. Instead, he’s delightfully disrupting this seemingly sensible approach and taking his tiny daughter (Little Chow!) along for the ride.
This family are at the forefront of a pretty inspiring adventuring baby-parent movement. They’re forging a lifestyle based on exciting experiences and bravely busting out of their trusty comfort zone.
Routine is not the default in this brave new (toddler) world. Rather, squeezing the most out of these curious, formative preschool years and ‘winging it’ as often as possible is the goal.
“My daughter was slightly more than 2 years old, and I noticed her awareness of her world had gotten more astute. I always have this desire of imparting my experience and knowledge to her, and the best way in my opinion isn’t telling her, but to show her the world myself,” Stefan told Upworthy.
Giggles trumped tantrums
Show her the world he did, leaving Little Chow’s mum at home to get on with her work. What followed was a spontaneous, exciting, intense and possibly unforgettable parent-child experience. Stefan, an acclaimed photographer, says it was the trip of a lifetime.
“We ended up cycling along the eastern coast of Taiwan, hung out with baby animals on a farm, went onto the boats of fishermen, chased trains, climbed hills, sheltered together from a storm, and had more giggles than tantrums,” he remembers.
Sounds pretty great, right?! We think homebody families have lots to learn from this dynamic duo. Here’s five great takeaways from their dad-kid trip for non-adventuring families to consider.
Perhaps you might want to meander off the beaten track with your child, too?
1. Toddlers are smarter and more understanding than we give them credit for
While our natural instinct is always to protect and keep small children away from potential challenges, this pair found that two-year-olds are capable of much more than we give them credit for – and they tune in carefully to what’s going on around them.
2. Routine is not the only way
Stefan’s daughter learnt to adapt and adjust accordingly, as they were faced with new people, places and experiences. Dealing with new situations made life interesting and encouraged new behaviours and growth.
3. Sometimes kids are just happy to tag along and do parent stuff
Planning our lives around our childrens’ happiness often feels like the only way, but Stefan and Little Chow show us that not everything has to be passed through a kid-focused filter. Mixing things up leads to surprises and fresh life lessons.
4. Dads often don’t get enough alone time with their kids
This is a big one. Maybe it’s different for your family (yay!) but society often views solo dad-child time as an exciting diversion from the norm and treats dads who spend lots of time with their kids as heroes. It’s great to see more and more families sharing the parenting of their kids more equitably. Stefan’s focus was not that he was an amazing hero dad, but rather that he was facilitating adventures that small people often don’t have. Hopefully this kind of dad-kid travel will be embraced more and more.
5. Unplanned adventures strengthen parent-child bonds
Stefan says: “My daughter and I had a very healthy relationship before this, but the trip really made us appreciate each other more. Since the trip, I feel that we are able to draw common memories and experiences, and it has certainly brought us closer together.”
Read the full story of Stefan and Little Chow’s adventures on Upworthy.