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Fear Of Flying Help For Children: 5 Proven Strategies

children with a flying phobiaCurbing Flying Anxiety In Children

Kids are unpredictable aren’t they? One child will race ahead to board the plane, while another will buck like a rodeo bronco when faced with air travel. So if you have a child more like the latter, what do you do? Fortunately, I’ve culled the most often-cited fear of flying help for children strategies from travel and mental health experts into one post, so you’ll have everything you need at a glance.

Fear Of Flying Help For Children | Tip 1: Preparation

I like this piece of information from traveling-kids.blogspot.com:

Talking to your child about the flight ahead of time, and telling them what will happen can help with anxiety. For some kids it’s good if you go into some detail: tell them that you will board the plane, find your seat, sit down, and then put on your seat belts. Try to describe what happens at take off and landing too, so that these things don’t come as a complete surprise. Reading books, or watching movies about airplanes can help with preparation too.

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The many sounds of an airplane ride can be overwhelming to children. Part of your preparation should not only be discussing the various airplane sounds, but also simulating them, especially if they have had negative experiences with flight before. Here’s a quote from from child psychologist Tamar Chansky:

“Sometimes children have been on a flight with a lot of turbulence or get afraid by the normal sounds of the plane– help them get familiar by “simulating” a flight in your living room. Have the child make the sounds of the wings, the wheels, etc. Car washes are great approximaters of some of the sounds and sensations of a flight.”

 

A kid-friendly site like this one is also a good option for children.

Tip 2: Discussing the Flight

It seems simple, but helping children overcome fear can be as simple as talking to them about the plane ride. Moreover, it is a powerful strategy to combat kids fear of flying. Teresa Plowright in travelwithkids.tv had this to say on the subject:

It’s never a good idea to dismiss a child’s frights with glib reassurances. Talk to your child about any worries about a plane trip; often, it can be a release simply to express their anxieties.

DO: give your child a chance to speak about any anxieties they might have.

DON’T: influence your child with your own concerns about security.

Just like in adults, having the chance to discuss thoughts, feelings and emotions is often extremely therapeutic for children with flying anxieties. Fear in children is often from the unknown, so make sure yours has the opportunity to bring up anything that is causing them concern.

Tip 3: Distractions      

children on airplanesThis is an oldie but a goody. Just like in other situations where you are trying to calm a child, distracting and/or comforting is often just what they need. Hug them, give them a treat, sing a song or play a game; strategies that work off the plane will often work on it.

 Tip 4: Stay Calm

Children take their cues from you in all aspects of life. If you experience a fear of flying yourself, address it so that you can lead your child by example by remaining calm. Our guides on Overcoming The Fear Of Flying and Fear Of Flying Tips are great resources (if we do say so ourselves).

 Tip 5: Medication

This option is usually for more extreme cases, but some parents give their children medication such as Gravol, which is prescribed for motion sickness and nausea. It is advisable to discuss this option with a physician. Fear of flying help for children can also be found in therapy. This is also a common and effective option, and you can check with local counseling centers to find a provider that works with anxiety in children.

Fear, Flying, and Your Child – an Educational Opportunity

Despite your best efforts, your child may still feel some level of fear and anxiety with regards to flying. At every opportunity, you should reassure your child that feeling this way is normal, and that they are not “bad” or “wrong” for being scared.

Ultimately, every activity in life carries some degree of risk along with it. While you may not be able to convey this idea to your young children, you can certainly go a long way towards soothing their fears about flying.

For more on how to overcome fear of flying, see our  Soar Fear of Flying Review.

 

 

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Showing 7 comments
  • stacy
    Reply

    I’m taking my 2 children on a surprise trip to Disney World in the end of November. My son is 22 months and my daughter is 10. My daughter knows that we are going on a secret vacation but thinks it is somewhere nearby. I just recently found out she has a fear of flying. At this point she doesn’t know we will be taking a plane to our destination. How and when should I address this without ruining the surprise….also, me and her stepdad are taking her. If her father knows that we are taking her somewhere this special, he will do somthing to ruin the trip. This has happened before. Another reason I didn’t want to tell her until we got to the airport. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Please any advice would be helpful.

    • IH
      Reply

      Talk to her about the plane, or try piriton or phynegen elixir, she will probably fall asleep unless she has them often

  • Helena Schnee
    Reply

    I saw you wrote your commet 7 months ago which means your trip to disney has past. I’m Helena and I’m 13. How did your daughter handle everything. I had plans to go to disney this summer and came clean to my mom and told her I couldn’t handle flying, It’s one of my biggest fears. she recently called off our trip which really hurt me. I suggested driving or taking a train but she only sees a plane as an option. Please it is my dream to go to disney and I would really love your advice.

  • Glenyce
    Reply

    Hi
    Fear is one of many emotions. Without meeting you try to identify what exactly your afraid of
    Is it the sounds of the aircraft..leaving the ground..social media broadcasts..dying or the unknowing. You are still young with many great years ahead..so many adventures still to be had
    Face your fears and try to identify what emotions are good for you and those that aren’t.
    Enjoy life ☺

  • Landon
    Reply

    U see I have pretry bad anxiety and I’m only 11 and u see I never flew before and right now I’m so so so scared like super scared I’m crying my nose is running and all sorts of things are happening if u have any tips for me I’d be glad to try them but please help me ok thanks

  • Isabella
    Reply

    I need advice for flying HELP I’m terrified!!

  • Storm
    Reply

    I’m going on holiday in May on an 8 hour flight and I’m soooo scared pls any tips!!!

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