**This is a guest post, written by Jenny Holt.
You may think that aviophobia (fear of flying) is exclusively an adult thing, but the National Institute of Mental Health reports that up to 25% of all Americans feel at least a little bit nervous about flying. Dr. Martin Seiff, who ran a Fear of Flying program, states that young children are not usually afraid of flying per se. Rather, other elements associated with it - including the novelty of travel, being in a crowded airport, or even fearing nausea and vomiting - can be more prevalent. For other children, the thought of being up in the air or within a confined space might be a little challenging. How can you help soothe their fears with a little help from their favorite audiobook?
Instilling A Love Of Travel Through Audiobooks
Like so many of life’s most enriching goals, travel is just a means to get somewhere fabulous, so it's important for children to get excited about where they are going. Tales2go has a wonderful catalogue of books that includes information on specific destinations. Take Ecuador, deemed one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The audiobook, 'High in the Mountains of Ecuador and Other Travel Stories,' is just one example of how travel books can immerse little readers and listeners in another world. This book in particular delves into life in the Andes (and the wonder of puffins) but of course, there are many more books covering different destinations. If your child has allergies or any other health condition that can make some destinations impossible for them, hone in on countries that are safe allergy-wise. For instance, a child who has to stay at home during pollen season will be thrilled to hear that they are heading to a tropical destination or somewhere where the species affecting them are not to be found.
Adventure Maketh The Child
Books like Tom Sawyer celebrate the personal growth that arises when children overcome their fears and open themselves up to new people and experiences. Children who are a little introverted or worried about taking a plane to a far-off destination can arm themselves with courage by emulating characters like Tom. If you're listening to this book with your child, ask how they can emulate Tom once they arrive at your chosen destination.
Letting Them Pick Audiobooks For The Plane
Ask your kids to pack their hand-carried luggage with you, including items that can help the plane rider seem shorter than it is. The pack should include a pair of headphones and a device to listen to audiobooks, toys, games like Uno or Snap, and any small, light items you can easily take on board. Mature kids who are into illustration and witty humor will enjoy titles that promote visuals like 'Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!'
If a plane ride is coming up and you notice your little ones are a little nervous, audiobooks are a great way to give them an inkling of how amazing travel can be. Pick a few audiobooks to listen to on the flight, allowing your child to select books that appeal. Save titles to favorites or add bookmarks so stories are ready to go when you are. Queue up a story in the app while connected to WiFi and allow the story to buffer for a few minutes. Now you're all set to listen aboard the plane - no WiFi needed for the duration of that title. Switch or search titles when you go back into a WiFi area.
There are many more things you can do before you leave, including taking your kids to a flight simulator experience. A combination of many approaches, including deep breathing using some meditation sounds, entertainment, and simply listening to them and letting them know that planes are safe and fun, will go a long way towards reducing anxiety and boosting the fun factor.