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Empowering Your Child Through Vacation Anxiety

Like many of you, I’ve built an amazing support network. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d survive parenthood without them. So one day, I was venting to a trusted confidant about a personal dilemma (explaining the situation, analyzing the options). Normally, this trusted friend was full of insight and wise suggestions.

But that day, they repeatedly said to me, “Don’t worry about it. It will all turn out fine.”


Ouch. I know that this friend meant well… but I felt hurt.


I continued to divulge more details about the possible pitfalls and problematic outcomes… and they still dismissed me with “it’s fine, it will all work out.”  And contrary to their intention to support me, I felt even worse.  

I didn’t feel heard. 

I started to second guess my own judgment.

And I didn’t walk away with any good solutions.

kids having fun on vacation
Helping your children understand the unknown can help ease vacation anxiety!


So what does that story have to do with helping kids with anxiety while on vacation? It reminded me of last summer when my family was getting ready to go on vacation.  Someplace familiar but with lots of new adventures planned - which was exciting to me. But my children started freaking out as we were packing up. And they were adamant that they were NOT doing new things on this vacation.


Of course, nothing about this family friendly vacation was unsafe, so I found myself saying distractedly as we’re trying to get everyone out the door:


“You’ll be with us.”


“We wouldn't bring you there if it wasn’t safe.”


And lastly…. “Don’t worry about it. It will all turn out fine.” I remember wishing the words never came out of my mouth because I know how they feel to hear.


At this point, they let me know “YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!” It dawned on me as they were expressing their concerns that I was the one who wasn’t seeing them, not supporting them, and dismissing their needs. Not the parent I wish to be so I had to flip the perspective and act fast!


In retrospect, all of this should have been no surprise. Both of my children have anxiety, and so the “unknown” can feel incredibly scary.


Clearly, getting out the door on time wasn’t happening. So I stopped and apologized.  Then I said:

  1. Tell me all of your concerns.

  2. Let's talk about them one by one.

  3. What do we need to do to make you feel safe?

Together, we made a list of things they needed to feel safe before we left. Not only did they feel heard and supported, but my kiddos were part of the action plan.

As your kiddos share their concerns or tales of “what went wrong,”  or "what could go wrong" while you are getting ready to go or are on vacation, how can you help them feel heard, supported, and safe? Can you hold off from dismissing or pushing aside what they are feeling to tell them it will be OK? Also, are there any expectations you can adjust or compromise to help your kids feel more in control of a situation that could feel out of their control?

Give it a try and I bet you will be surprised how it can changes the outcome. I know it surprised me!

If you are interested in learning more about about different ways you can start to parent different and are looking for assistance in figuring out new and different ways to connect with your child, my Parenting Take 2 Program is a perfect match! In this 6 to 8 week private support program I will assist you in finding new ways to parent your child by creating a personalized set of tools specific to your needs and your child's needs. You share your challenges and concerns, I interact with your child in playful sessions to learn how movement and mindfulness will benefit them, and then we connect the dots! Learn more by clicking the button below.


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