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Fear of Flying: Tips for the Day of Your Flight

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The Day of the Flight: Eat Nutritiously
Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates. Don't fall into the trap of your nervous child with too many treats: this could be a recipe for a jittery mood.

Don't Rush
Arrive at the airport in plenty of time: rushing will increase the child's anxiety. Take it easy, be relaxed!

Bring Along Plenty of Fun Things to Do
Aka distractions, for a fearful child. Bring along some amusements, maybe even wrap 'em up as presents; triple-wrapping multiplies the sense of fun.

Bring some drinks and snacks too: passengers sometimes wait an hour for flight attendants to serve drinks; this wait can stress out a nervous child.

If Turbulence Hits...
"Captain Tom" at Fear of Flying has advice:

"First you need to know that turbulence is a problem for people only because people think turbulence is a problem for the airplane. Actually the airplane couldn't be happier than when in turbulence. It just doesn't bother airplanes, only us who think it bothers airplanes."

Turbulence is natural in the skies. If you're caught in turbulence, says Captain Tom: "Practice matching every down with an up." We usually don't notice the "ups" because we're afraid of the "downs" --( our instinctual fear of falling.) But the "falls" are balanced by upward motion too.

Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms can frighten kids even on land. Your child may be reassured to know that:

  • the aircraft radar can determine the size and intensity of storms
  • pilots generally avoid thunderstorms, but going through a storm isn't dangerous
  • a lightening strike won't hard the airplane, or penetrate inside. You're safe from lightening in the plane (whether it's flying or on the ground.)
Interestingly, most planes do get hit by lightening, about once a year. (Not that you have to tell your child that!) The lightning bolt's electricity flows along the airplane's aluminum skin and into the air. Read more at USA Today.

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