Ways of Helping a Child with a Fear of Flying
A fear of flying is very common, and around one in six people suffer badly enough to make travel a trying experience. Unfortunately, kids are just as likely to be nervous fliers, if not more so. But if your child is anxious, there’s no need to make their flight a misery. This article explains how to prepare in advance to make your journey go smoothly.
An estimated 1 in 6 people have a fear of flying bad enough to make air travel an ordeal. And this doesn’t only apply to adults, children can suffer from just as profound an Linease.
In many ways, children who are anxious fliers present greater difficulty. Fear of flying is deep and visceral, and many kids won’t respond to rational discussions about safety statistics and the laws of aerodynamics.
But if fear of flying is making travel with your child difficult, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you do.
Let the children talk freely about their worries. Give reassurance where appropriate, but not in a dismissive way which doesn’t acknowledge their fears. Sometimes, the simple act of talking can release tension and help the child put things in perspective.
- Beware of Statistics
Be careful about using statistics to show how safe plane travel is in comparison with, for example, road trips. It’s true that you’re far more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash, but to children, these statistics aren’t approachable.
Arisk is a risk, and they’re just as likely to become nervous about car travel as to be reassured about airplane safety.
- Consider Other Causes
It could be that a fear of flying has its roots in more general anxiety, and it’s the flying that’s become the focus. Is your child having any other difficulties elsewhere? A child with a perfectly worry-free life would be unusual, and common anxieties can express themselves in Linexpected ways
Even to adults, flying can seem like a scarily wondrous process that operates on a knife edge. However, once the scientific basics are explained and understood, it becomes much more of an everyday, manageable experience.
Many child-friendly articles covering the mechanics of air travel are available online, giving basic explanations without going into too much detail. If your child has the mindset to appreciate these, they can be beneficial.
- Explain in Advance
But even if your child is too young for specific detail on flying, running through the flight-day routine in advance can help put them at ease. Explain what will happen and why, with as much detail as you can.
Mention that the flight attendant will check the tickets to make sure everyone is on the right plane. Point out that the seat belt is to keep you comfortable if the ride is a little bumpy.
When your child knows what to expect at every step of the way, it’s much less scary, even if they still don’t fully understand everything.
- On the Day of the Flight
Before leaving home, give your child a healthy meal; try to avoid sugars or other foods which experience has shown can spark unwanted behavior.
Take your time getting to the airport so there’s as little stress as possible, and be calm yourself even if you’re a nervous traveler too. Calmness is just as infectious as anxiety, so do whatever you can to make the trip to the airport a smooth one.
It’s important to have as many distractions to hand in case your child shows signs of becoming worried. Depending on their age, this could include drawing materials or a range of books.
In daily life, you may try to limit the amount of time they spend on electronic devices. But it’s better to give them free rein at the airport and on the flight itself. Getting lost in a smartphone game is an excellent distraction from anxiety, and under the unique circumstances of a flight, you can make special allowances.
- Tell the Crew
Lastly, it can be constructive to let the cabin crew know your child is nervous. Do this discreetly, so it doesn’t embarrass your child or prompt them into anxious behavior.
Doing this won’t annoy the flight crew, and you needn’t feel like you’re placing an extra burden on already-busy people. The cabin crew wants a calm, trouble-free flight. They know that making even a minor effort with a nervous child can work wonders to avoid a situation developing.
Some children see an airplane flight as a wonderful adventure and love every minute of the experience. But if your child isn’t one of them, taking a few precautions and preparing well can make a huge difference. Your journey may not exactly fly by, but it should go much more smoothly for everyone.