Child Anxiety on Vacation

Child Anxiety on Vacation

Simple Ideas for Lowering Childhood Anxiety on a Disney Parks Trip

Have you dreamt of taking your children to Disney, but worry about the way one or more may react due to crowds, an unknown environment, and over stimulation?

Having traveled numerous times with children who are prone to, what I call, over excitement, I have a few tips!

1. Children under eight will benefit greatly from a stroller. I love to bring my trusty umbrella stroller. Any ride with a comfy back, and sun cover (this is a must) will do! Strollers act as more than just a ride. The shade can be used for blocking the sun along with the feeling of protection against crowds. When not riding in the stroller kids can occupy themselves by pushing it. A stroller is an all around win!

2. Bring a new or favorite toy! It can be used as a mental escape as well as something to hug and hold in order to promote a feeling of safety. While visiting Magic Kingdom, just this year, my youngest son was overwhelmed with the environment. The heat, the crowd, and just all the unknowns, were working his little nerves. I watched him engage with a beloved Toy Story hero, as we were exiting our first stop. It was a must buy. As my older son and I were walking ahead of, my newly appointed space ranger now zooming through the galaxy, I explained the reason we bought him this was to get his mind off his worries. This time the older brother glanced back and said, “wow, ok that did work, he’s happy”. We went from pre-meltdown, to a space ranger with one purchase… why? Mental escape, by way of a special item to focus their energy on. It works wonders!

3. Eat outside! While every parent loves a good sit-down meal, this can be a very stressful time for little ones prone to anxiety….unknown foods, close spaces, having to be quiet, need I go on? Save the stress and sit outside. Disney has many quick service options, with outdoor seating. There’s also the option of bringing lunch. Disney allows you to bring any food and non-alcoholic drinks into the parks. Keep in mind, glass and hard side coolers are NOT permitted.

4. Shorter park trips. I know, with the price we pay to go to Disney World we feel like we should be there all day. Now listen to me, I feel the same way. If I’m with my travel ladies, I’m there from open to close. When we’re with our little ones, that have problems with crowds, they need time to unwind. Plan for down time within the day. I find showing up early, and leaving for a mid day swim at the hotel is perfect! A hotel break gives the kids time to cool down and relax. Then its back to the parks ? for less sun, the nighttime shows, and lower crowds!