Traveling with children can be a stressful time for everyone. Mom may be afraid of forgetting something important, she may be worried about her flight being delayed and she probably worries about her children being loud and bored, thus disturbing others and having dirty looks and judgment thrown her way.
If that wasn’t enough to worry about, if mom has an anxious child, it can be even worse. Children often marvel at airplanes and the idea of flying, but when the time comes, they may be afraid of being so high. The noise can be overwhelming and their lack of knowledge of how an aircraft stays in the air can add to their anxiety.
Moms want their kids to be comfortable, and they don’t want them to go through periods of stress or discomfort, but mom also knows they have to travel. Whether they’re going to a family reunion or a fun family adventure, they need to get their kids on the plane and make it as comfortable as possible. They can with these 10 tips for traveling with anxious children.
ten Prepare, prepare, prepare
The best thing to do is to prepare your children. According to Anxious Toddlers, things can feel scary when we feel like we have no control or don’t know what to expect, and the best way to work around this is to prepare for them as much as possible. As soon as you book that flight, tell them about the flight and how it works. Read books, watch movies, or anything else to interest them.
9 Non-stop entertainment
If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll probably get bored very quickly, and the key to keeping them calm is to keep their minds busy at all times. Go to the dollar store and stock up on small toys, books, and portable crafts. The more they have to do, the less they will think about how scared they are.
8 write a story
It’s a unique idea that can work very well. According to Child Mind Institute, spend time with your child and write a children’s book about your journey. Ask your child to be the star and write about what you will do on your trip. Have them draw the pictures, and it’s a fun way to review your trip and what they can expect.
seven Comfort items
There are a lot of things to remember when packing, but if your child is anxious, there is one thing you don’t want to forget, and that is your child’s comfort element. According to The Chaos And The Clutter, this could be the element that allows them to cross the flight. It could be something they are already attached to or something you buy specifically as a “flying buddy”.
6 Let them have their own bag
If you want to make sure your child is as involved as possible (which is part of the preparedness strategy), consider leaving their own small backpack. They can pack it themselves with something they like, snacks or whatever they think they need.
5 Expect it to go wrong
Although it’s usually not helpful to focus on the negatives, it can be useful in this case. Mom should always prepare for a meltdown and have strategies in mind for what to do when it happens. These can be ways to distract him or prepare special treats to help him calm down. Whatever works for her child.
4 Ask for help
Airports and airlines are here to help, and they want to make sure your experience is fun and relaxing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it with your child. Maybe they could talk to your kid, show them the cockpit, or give them some cool flying coloring pages. Even if the answer is no, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
3 Watch how much you change
In the weeks leading up to the trip, try not to change your child’s routine or comfort items too much. If they are already feeling anxious, adding more changes may be too much for them. Try to keep your life fairly regular for a while.
2 Screen time is your friend
Even if you try to limit the screen time your child has at home, now is not the time to worry about your child’s screen time. That might mean bringing their tablet with you or letting them watch a movie on the plane. It can give them something to look forward to and something to distract them from.
1 Calm your fears
If you’re an anxious flier, you’re going to have to work on that. Our children can understand our feelings, and if we are afraid or anxious, they will probably understand that, and it can add to their fears.. Work on some strategies for yourself, like deep breathing and distractions to help you.
Sources: Anxious Toddlers, Child Mind Institute, Chaos and Clutter