It’s one thing to have antsy or disruptive little ones while flying—but what about when they are nervous? Some kids might be unsure about the whole experience, which can only be made worse by anxious parents.
Recently, there was an incident on Southwest Airlines where a pilot expressed concern about a flight problem over the loudspeaker. Passengers panicked and handled the news with yells, tears and frantic texts to loved ones. Luckily the issue was solved in air and the flight landed without incident.
This type of situation, though, is incredibly rare. It’s important to understand that and reiterate it when flying with kids to their minds are put at ease.
Recognize and rationalize
Flying is the second safest transportation in the world—second only to escalators. You’ll most likely be completely fine. Practice feeling calm, cool and collected on flights without the kids first through using entertainment, sleeping, studying or even doing work. Get to know the bumps and dips in the air so you won’t be surprised in the future.
When with the little ones, they will feed off of your emotions and will also feel tranquil if you project safety and security.
Make flying fun
Fun trumps being scared almost all the time. Like any road trip or extended waiting time, prepare with your family for the time spent in the air and stay busy! Kids often have short attention spans, so don’t just rely on inflight entertainment—bring some toys, do crafts (check out our Art of Travel section for ideas) and focus on packing gear that will enchant little ones for the duration of the trip.
If kids express concern, address their issues with patience. As with any other uncertainly they have in life, let them know this is a thrill, everything will be fantastic and soon they will be in a whole new place to discover.
Really—it is fun!
Although Wifi and calling is slowly slinking into the flight culture, most routes still are disconnected. When else these days do you have the chance to totally unplug? Use this precious time to really connect with your kids—s hare a fun book or movie together, or have a laugh over the latest activity had by the family. Make up stories, ask them about their lives or share a snack—a great memory to make no matter what age. Not only can this be a wonderful time to bond and dream over the upcoming destination, it keeps the mind off of silly airplane fears and instead helps keep the landing (and your mind) nice and smooth.
Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel writer, social media manager and co-founder of Pure Wander Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @guapetonah