What to do When Your Child Has a Fear of Flying

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Most parents are at least a little bit nervous about getting on a plane with their baby or toddler, but usually because they fear that their child may not take well to the new environment and cry throughout the whole flight.  What if, however, your child is no longer a baby, and starts to develop a true anxiety towards flying?  I stumbled across a mother’s post on this very subject and couldn’t help but wonder what resources are available to help.  Here is what I found:

1. Child therapist and parenting coach Lisa Dungate offers tips and suggestions on her website and blog  Lion’s Whiskers.

2. Several books written for children offer coping skills to deal with the physical and emotional response to the fear of flying.

 

For Young Children

Olivina Flies by Grace Lin
Available on Amazon.

Olvina was starting to feel very nervous. Maybe I should get off the plane, she thought. Chickens aren’t supposed to fly.

When Olvina gets invited to the Tenth Annual Bird Convention in Hawaii, she decides it’s high time to overcome her fear of flying. But on the day of her big plane trip, Olvina’s tummy is filled with butterflies and she has second thoughts. After all, chickens aren’t supposed to fly. Or are they?

Olvina Flies
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For Older Children:

Dragons of Thin Air by Doug Worrall
Available on Amazon.

Written to appeal to young and old alike, Dragons of Thin Air is an entertaining, insightful and comprehensive discussion for anybody who is afraid (or even just a little bit nervous) of flying.

It is not your average self help book, however. If you hate taking medicine or fall asleep at the very thought of reading a textbook you will absolutely love Dragons of Thin Air.  Yes, all the good Fear of Flying stuff is here (and more!) but weaving these topics together is a story.

In this story a reformed Fear Dragon teaches a family of fearful flyers how not to be afraid. Such a helpful attitude, being somewhat against the dragon’s basic instincts, makes for a whole bunch of fun from start-to-finish. But, he does know fear — who better to run a course about fear than a dragon?

 

For Families to Read Together

The Seagull who was Afraid to Fly by Steven Wickstrom
Available on Amazon.

A bird’s first reaction to any problem is to fly away. Because he can’t fly, Dusty is forced to face problems that shape his character in ways that make him unique. He would rid himself of his fear of heights if he could, but he doesn’t know how to do it. He must learn the importance of friendship, to trust and depend upon friends and ultimately overcome the obstacle of his fear.

 

For Parents:

It is a fact that 40% of people admit to being afraid of flying.  I can relate to this fact as for a short period post Sept 11,2001, I became obsessed with watching the flight attendant’s expression anytime the captain contacted her from the cockpit.  I would self medicate with a vodka soda while trying to mask my terror from my coworkers. While I can find some humor in the situation now, at the time it was less than amusing.

Flying without Fear by Duane Brown, PH.D
Available on Amazon.

It’s easy to keep aerophobia at bay for years by simply avoiding air travel. But amid all the lost vacations, missed opportunities for business travel, and rare visits to far-flung loved ones, you may decide it’s time to put away your fear of flying for good. Flying without Fear is an essential guidebook for the millions of people who have made that decision. Based in cognitive behavioral therapy, the program in this book will prepare you for every sight, sound, and sensation you will experience in the airport and airplane. This fully revised and updated edition also includes new information about terrorism concerns and airport security measures adopted after 9/11.

 

3. And finally, who does it better than Virgin Airlines?  Virgin actually runs classroom Flying without Fear courses for adults and children out of several airports in Great Britain.  I realize this is neither practical nor affordable for most people, but who knows, perhaps they will offer online courses soon.  Take a look at this video of their Flying without Fear course for kids:

 

You May Also Enjoy the Following Posts:

Aerophobia – How to Cope with Flying Anxiety

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