Anxiety during airplane travel is a common concern for many people, and when traveling as a family, this fear can multiply. These tips can help you overcome the fear of flying.
If you or your children feel anxious or afraid before a flight, there are effective strategies to overcome this obstacle and enjoy a calmer and more pleasant travel experience.
Understand the Fear
The first step to facing aerophobia as a family is to understand it. Take the time to talk to your children about their concerns and listen to them carefully. Oftentimes naming the fear and expressing it can relieve anxiety. Explain that it’s normal to feel a little scared before getting on a plane, but that there are ways to handle it.
Educate About and Familiarise with the Fear
Information is power. Take the time to educate yourself and your children about how airplanes work and the physics of flight; demonstrating to them (and to yourself) that flying is a highly safe process can help reduce everyone´s worries. Also, whenever you can, visit the airport before the flight so that children become familiar with the surroundings.
Schedule Flights which Are Short and Direct
If possible, choose direct flights and of short duration, as this will reduce the anxiety of having to make stopovers and dealing with multiple takeoffs and landings. The simpler the trip the easier it will be for everyone – especially when it comes to the first exposures to air travel.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Children tend to mirror the emotions and attitudes of the adults around them. So be sure to keep a casual and relaxed attitude about the flight and try to project confidence. Avoid talking about your own fears in front of kids and focus on the positive aspects of the trip.
Prepare an ´Entertainment Kit´
To keep the little ones occupied during the flight, bring along a set of books, games, and toys. Having distractions on hand will help keep their minds busy and distract them away from anxiety.
Celebrate Family Achievements
After the flight, make a bit of a big deal about your family getting through it successfully – therefore reinforcing the idea that facing and overcoming fear is a valuable experience. Reward your kids with praise and maybe even a reward or two (how about a celebratory ice cream?) to help build their self-confidence.
No doubt about it: facing the fear of flying as a family can be a challenging process, but with patience, understanding, and the right strategies, you can help your children overcome their worries and lead them to enjoy the excitement of exploring the world together. And finally, don’t forget that each flight can be an opportunity to strengthen resilience and family bonding.
Happy – and fearless – flying!