Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tips for Travel with Kids and Anxiety

Hello Friends! My daughter Katie asked me if I would share a post or two during vacation that were from her point of view. It’s my hope that sharing her point of view will help other Moms when it comes to traveling with their kids. Airports and airplanes can be stressful places, when you’re not used to them, and Katie has some great tips to make things go a little smoother. ~ Kristen

Katie in her luggage fort, creating space and separation from the airport crowds.

Hi. I’m @NDK_49, also known as Katie. I am 12 years old and I have anxiety disorder. Having anxiety makes traveling hard for me. When I am going to Walt Disney World, or Disneyland, I have a really hard time at the airport and then on the plane.

What happens to me while in the airport is that I begin to freak out over how many people are there, a lot of the time I have to make a barricade with all of the luggage that we have brought. We do this so I feel like I am apart from all of the thousands of other people. So I feel safe! It happens a lot, in fact, it happens almost every time I am traveling. Sometimes it gets so bad that I have a hard time breathing because I am freaking out. My mom gets worried about me when this happens, but I get through it.

The situation that happens on the plane is different from the situation that happens in the airport it’s self. On the plane, there are always these movies about what happens if you crash, right? Well that always gets me to begin to freak out and worry about what happens if we have to make a crash landing and that kind of things. Then take-off is another thing. It just makes me feel ill, but I get though it. Normally it takes me to the half-way point of the flight until I begin to be comfortable in the airplane, but after that half-way point it is easy.

Katie's Airport Fort
Focusing on a good book or game can distract from the crowds and pass the time.

Thing I do to help me get through my anxiety while traveling:
  • In the airport, I use the luggage that was brought along to create a barrier.
  • I focus on my breathing so I don’t hyperventilate.
  • I wrap up in a blanket, or a jacket, because I’ve found that being wrapped up, or covered up tends to make me feel safer.
  • I go through the security check-in first, so I don’t get lost. Losing sight of my family ( Or friends, depending whom I am traveling with. ) makes me scared.
  • Because of my anxiety, my mom always asks the gate attendants if I can board first so I can get settled in before everyone else starts filing in.  Almost every time we’ve traveled, we’ve asked if we could, and they let us.
Some things parents might not know is that the TSA has been doing stuff for children to make security easier.  Children who are 12 and under do NOT have to take their shoes off while going through security, nor do they have to go through the full body scan. I was asked my age when I was in line for the full body scan because I though everyone had to, nope! I was wrong. Children 12 and under just go through the regular metal detector.  Also, children under 18 have to have a parent there if the TSA needs to pat them down.

I hope this post gives you some good ideas with your kids while traveling, and I know that I am ready for vacation because knowing this stuff helps me enjoy it more!

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