How to Treat Fear of Flying
Nobody wants to be experiencing any of this so what can you do?? The accepted practice for overcoming phobias is exposure to feared triggers. More exposure not less exposure. If you fall off the horse get back on. Address the triggers head on. The more you face them, the less the impact as you gradually normalize the experience. Most significantly you need to know that avoidance keeps your phobia alive and intense. So, if you suffer extreme symptoms that actually keep you from flying or it feels overwhelming to you, treat yourself to a course in addressing the fear. It will be money well spent. Additionally, not only is there the fear of taking the flight but also the fear while you are waiting for the flight called anticipatory anxiety. It can be distracting at best and paralyzing at worst even resulting in cancelled plans. Any treatment should also address this. Education helps calm anxiety so you can talk your way through stressful moments. Learn how a plane flies, facts about turbulence, and the meaning of the routine sounds and bumps during a normal flight.
Fear of flying s something parents don’t want to pass along to their children. Some children have no fear at all while some will cry from beginning to end. How can you calm a fearful child? First, present yourself as fearless and confident. Kids will model parental behavior. Just like for yourself, preparing ahead is key. Read with your child some books about flying before the trip (see Market Place). Talk to them prior to the trip about what they’ll experience so when it actually is happening they can recall what you told them. Make takeoff and landing the most fun parts. Bring a snuggly blanket or stuffed animal and special treats. Use distraction techniques. Teach them how to buckle the seat belt themselves like a “big kid.” Let them press the buttons for the light and air and adjust their own preferences. Take a lot of time discussing what’s out the window and engross them with engaging questions. Many airlines today allow you to keep electronic devices on at takeoff so turn on a favorite movie such as Pixar’s Planes or Jay Jay the Jet Plane.. Minimize the possible inner ear discomfort at take off with a bottle or pull out the gum. Be sure to time it for the actual takeoff when the air pressure changes! As a last resort, you can discuss medications such as Benedryl with your pediatrician. If you decide that may be an option, try it at home before departure day as some children get more active not less active with certain medications. The idea is to calm your child, not drug your child! I tried it once on a ten hour flight and my child slept comfortably and was a much happier, rested child at arrival. Granted, as an option it’s not for everyone! No matter what keep calm yourself and your child will eventually follow your lead.