Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How to Reduce Your Child’s Travel Anxiety

It’s not enough for your child to experience the world through books, documentaries, and movies. There’s nothing quite like flying the friendly skies to actually enjoy new lands and experiences. However, the process of traveling can be an intimidating one. If you’ve ever heard a child scream through takeoff or struggle to adjust to turbulence, you already know that flying and other types of travel can be tough for children. Thankfully, there are ways you can actively reduce your child’s travel anxiety. For your next trip, consider the following tips.

1. Consider a Relaxation Supplement

Thankfully, there are supplements in gummy form and liquid form that your child can easily consume. Look for a supplement that’s specifically formulated for children. These calming supplements typically contain ingredients like L-Theanine, lemon balm, and magnesium. Another option is to provide a supplement that helps them fall asleep during the flight. Look for sleep supplements for kids that contain ingredients like melatonin. To remain on the safe side, it’s a wise idea to make sure your child’s primary care physician signs off on the supplement. You don’t want it to interfere with any other medications they’re taking.

2. Provide Devices and Entertainment

Bring a tablet so that they can enjoy a television show during the flight. If they’re enjoying their favorite show or an interesting movie, this can help to divert their attention during their travels. Another way to provide entertainment involves a great book, some crayons, and a coloring book or their favorite stuffed animal or toy.

3. Curate a Private Experience

When you opt to secure a private experience, you’ll eliminate the pressure of outside expectations. In most cases, parents feel a sense of anxiety because they don’t want their children to capture the glares and attention of their fellow passengers. There’s a sense of shame and guilt that comes over parents when they’re trying to calm down scared children and be considerate passengers on a plane. If you opt to fly on a private jet, you’ll completely eliminate the issues of controlling your child’s reaction to the flight. Plus, if your child needs to move around a bit, there’s more freedom when you’re flying privately.

4. Bring Noise-Canceling Headphones

Whether it’s time for takeoff or a child is walking through a noisy terminal, the loud sounds can weigh a child down. Some children are more sensitive to noises than others. In order to decrease the impact, pack noise-canceling headphones in your child’s carry-on bag. They can wear the headphones through the airport, on the flight, and in any other area where there’s a lot of noise. When the noise factor is more controlled, this can help a child feel more comfortable and relaxed.

5. Have Conversations in Advance

Children want to know what’s going on. For many people, anxiety creeps in when they don’t know what to expect. Eliminate the questions by keeping children appropriately abreast of what’s to come. In the weeks leading up to the trip, start to read books about airplanes and how exciting they are. Start to normalize the conversation surrounding the travel option you and your family choose. 

If you and your family plan to travel by train, begin reading age-appropriate books on trains. As they learn about trains, this process might excite them as they prepare to actually get on a real plane for the first time. Remain open and willing to answer any questions they have about the mode of transportation you’re taking. True transparency can alleviate their fears. Granted, you don’t want to tell them details that will completely debilitate them. However, you just want to provide age-appropriate answers that will satisfy their curiosity while decreasing their anxiety.

While there are many opinions about how to help your child travel sans stress, use your own instincts as a parent in order to make the best decisions for your child. You can take all of these tips into consideration and continue to apply them if they prove to be effective. Just know that it’s okay if your child is an individual who doesn’t enjoy the traveling process. Many adults struggle to cope with fears of flying and more. Take it one step at a time, and serve as a consistent source of safety and support. As time progresses, their experience may get easier.