Va. psychiatrist shares tips for easing travel anxiety in children ahead of July 4

Travel anxiety affects not only adults but also children during vacations, as stated by Dr. Asha Patton-Smith, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente. This Independence Day, a record-breaking 3 million more people are planning trips compared to last year, according to AAA. To ease travel tension in children, Dr. Patton-Smith advises parents to:

1. Explain trip details and itinerary to children to help them understand what to expect.
2. Ensure children are well-rested and have eaten well before starting a trip.
3. For younger children, pack familiar items such as a favorite toy or special book.
4. Include children in planning what to bring and activities to do at the destination.
5. Practice boarding routines for family travels on planes, trains, or cruise ships.
6. For long car rides, bring activities to keep children occupied, like coloring or ‘I Spy’, and make frequent stops.

According to Dr. Patton-Smith, the most important advice for parents is to manage their own travel anxieties, as they serve as models for their children. She emphasizes that parents should aim to remain as calm as possible to help reduce travel anxiety for their children.

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