active family travel,  family,  parenting,  Travel

Scared to Fly – 5 Ways to Help Your Nervous Child

Scared to fly? Maybe your child has never travelled before. Maybe they are naturally anxious in most things. Fear of flying is not uncommon for any age. Adults – most of them, at least – can simply psyche themselves into preparing for the flight, or they can try exposure, repeatedly flying until they conquer their fears. Children are a bit different that way. You may need to give a child who is scared to fly more help.


Helping a Child How is Scared to Fly

There are some things that we as parents and guardians can do to help out kiddos who are afraid of flying. The biggest thing we can do above all else is get them into the sky. They need to overcome their fear so they’re able to easily navigate the planet, whether it be for work or play. Aside from that one biggie, let’s take a look at five ways we can help a tiny nervous flyer.

Talk to the Pilot

Sometimes it can help a nervous child to feel like he or she knows the captain of the plane. Ask if your child can speak with the pilot and maybe see the cockpit. A short conversation and a quick peek at the cabin may be all your child needs to allay their fears about the upcoming flight. Even in this post 9-11 age of travel I have seen many airlines and pilots go above and beyond to make children feel safe and welcome aboard.

Bring Security with You

If your child has a favorite object such as their favorite teddy bear, toy, or a small blanket, bring it along for them to fly with. Often times these favorite objects can add a sense of security and well-being to your child’s psyche, allowing him or her to more easily deal with the stress of their fear. That’s completely okay. Trust me, if your child is at all nervous about flying, then you don’t want to argue over what they can and cannot take. Transition object from home are often helpful.


Bring Distractions

You’d be amazed at how quickly a child who is scared to fly can get lost in their favorite games on a smart phone or tablet. A favorite game or movie can be just the distraction a child needs to help them overcome their fear. Other distractions to consider: a favourite action figure, blank paper and crayons, and colouring books. I like to bring printables on all my trips, whether by car, train or plane. I stack the deck in favour of success.

Keep Them on the Aisle

If your child is scared to fly, the last thing you want to do is give them a front row sit to the world falling away below them. It’s always a good idea to keep them to the aisle if at all possible. That way, they don’t have a crystal clear picture of just how high up you really are. If they respond well and quickly and wish to see outside then by all means take in the breathtaking view.

Lead by Example

One of the best ways to soothe a child who is scared to fly is to show them just how calm mommy and daddy are about flying. Always project a sense of calm and confidence. Assure your child that everything will be fine in that smooth, calming voice that we parents know all too well. When mommy and daddy are calm, the kids will be better.

Being Scared to Fly is Natural

You can help your kids with their fear by following the tips above. One last thing to remember is this. Make sure you have a very specific talk about flying, how it works, and how safe it is. Answer any questions the kids may have, and remember to project that sense of calmness. Kids are resilient. If you talk with them about it and employ the tips above, you should have a much easier time soothing a child who’s scared to fly.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Jeanette

    These are some great tips. Our family flies so much that my son thinks it as second nature, but I do have a couple of friends whose children are terrified of flying and I think some of these tips can help them.

  • candy

    I found when we were flying with our young kids that the other passengers, and flight attendants were always very helpful. They always talked and made the kids feel special and like they were on an adventure.

    • Paula

      That’s nice to hear. There’s so much negativity right now and poor service sometimes too that I think the times when people are really accomodating and helpful we really notice.

  • Christy Maurer

    I am fortunate that none of us is afraid of flying. I cannot imagine having to deal with that fear. These are great tips! I know taking a security toy or blanket anywhere is helpful for kids.

  • robin ruE

    These are great ways to help ease kids into their flights. Mine have been flying since they were babies, so it’s just normal to them 🙂

  • Rebecca M.

    We may be flying with our kids for the first time this summer and these tips will be very helpful! I really like the idea of meeting with the pilot! I thinks they would really enjoy that 🙂

  • Pam

    Distractions are great for kids who are scared of flying. It’s really important to keep kids comfortable.

  • Sarah Bailey

    These sound like some great tips, I’ve only flown twice in my life and it was many years ago. I think I would be nervous getting on a plane again now.

  • Lisa Favre

    Sitting by the aisle is a really good tip/point. It also gives them easier access to the bathroom – we all know how often kids have to go!

  • Betty

    Aw I never thought about having a child who is scared to fly bc my children always loved going on planes! Great tips to help the kids get over their fear, and distractions help even when they are not scared!

  • Jaime Nicole

    Flying can be intimidating – even for some adults! You’ve given some great tips to help calm fears and make flying a positive experience!

  • Ashley Whipple

    Great tips! I know in our area you can take a class to help nervous fliers. It lets them get acquainted with a plane and all the procedures. It’s a great idea!.

  • Our Family World

    Your tips are amazing! Though I do not have a child who is scared of flying, these are still helpful tips that i can share.

  • ANosa

    I guess keeping them in aisle and bringing some distractions such as toys will help you kids divert their attention when flying. They’ll never know that they are already flying when you keep them busy.

  • Mimi Green

    This is right on time. My 5-year-old is going on her first flight in July. I just booked the tickets. Although she is excited, I don’t know if she will love it. I will use these tips for sure.

  • Terri Beavers

    These are really great tips. I’ve always been afraid to fly so they will help me as well. I’ve got a few flights scheduled and I’ve been dreading them.

  • adriana

    I love this post! I’ve always been afraid to fly, but I’ve never let it ground me – I love to travel so I just could never let it happen! I love these tips!

  • Bohemian Babushka

    Great list! BB can attest to the “bring security” one. At 15 I flew on my first flight, brought my giant TeddyBear with me. LOL Thankfully they didn’t charge me for the seat he took up. BB2U