How to Help a Child Scared of Flying
How you can help those children who are a little anxious
6 June 2016
There’s no denying that for most children, flying isn’t a huge issue and they suffer from no anxiety related to their airplane ride. Of course on the other hand, there are children who cling on to you for dear life as soon as you try to fasten their seat belt.
If you’re a parent of the latter, never fear… Often a frightened child can be gently helped to enjoy the journey. Here’s some tips and advice on how to help them overcome their fear.
Talk about what they’re scared of
It’s never a good idea to dismiss your child’s fear with small and glib reassurances. You must talk to your child about their worries, in this case a plane trip. Often, simply by talking, a child will feel better about their anxieties. Give them a chance to speak.
Is there any underlying causes?
Often a child’s fear of flying – or fear of the unknown – represents an underlying anxiety about something else out of their control in life. For instance, a divorce or family difficulty. It’s hard to probe into these areas, but your child may be ready to share their problems that are bothering them.
Teach them how the plane works
Whether this is via a YouTube video, a book or a game, find some way to help them learn how the plane actually operates. You’ll find their anxiety is reduced by understanding how the plane flies, what turbulence is and what not. You might learn something yourself!
Eat a good meal
Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates, and make sure you all eat a healthy, nutritious meal.
Try not to rush
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport, check-in and through security. Rushing will only increase your child’s anxiety, which will worsen any mood they have when getting on the plane. Take it easy, relax!
Bring lots of fun things to do
Also known as… Distractions! Remember to pack plenty of amusements, entertainment, presents, colouring books, puzzles and more. Don’t forget extra refreshments, too, as passengers can often be seated for an hour or so until the flight attendants serve drinks.
And if turbulence hits…
This is one thing even adults still have a fear of, although not everyone believes it when they’re told turbulence isn’t a problem for any plane. It never has been, nor will it be. It’s a natural occurrence in the skies; yet we only ever notice the downs, but there’s always an up to go with them.
What if there’s a thunderstorm?
We understand, thunderstorms are very frightening to children even on land. But calm your child’s nerves in the air by teaching them a few facts; an aircraft’s radar can determine the size and intensity of any storm, pilots generally avoid storms, but going through one isn’t dangerous. Plus, lightening doesn’t harm a plane!
Do you have any advice or experiences to share about settling your child’s anxiety when flying?