Traveling with your children may not always be a joyous occasion. From whining babies to bored children, car travels can be a stressful task. But did you ever think about the fact that some children have a fear of car rides? Yes, this is actually true. Well, this contributed post helps provide 3 helpful tips to show you how to travel stress-free and make your car travels a bit more comfortable for your child who may have a fear of the backseat.

The majority of parents embrace the chance to travel with their children. Nothing’s more rewarding than seeing your kids embrace different cultures. But, taking kids away can be stressful when they have fears about travel. Some such worries are common amongst youngsters. Concerns about planes or boats haunt many young minds. These things are, after all, fairly unfamiliar.

Sometimes, though, such fears can be much closer to home. While less common, there are children out there with phobias of car rides. And, with that the case, it can be near enough impossible to travel far at all.

If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time you addressed the issue. Your child deserves to enjoy travel, and so do you. Which is why you should take note of the following stress management techniques for overcoming the problem.

Get to the root of the fear

As with any fear, it’s likely that there’s a deep-seated reason that your child gets so stressed in the car. Sometimes, this will be obvious. Perhaps they saw a car crash when they were younger, or knew a friend who was injured in one? Other times, their worries may be a complete mystery to you. Sit them down and ask them how the car makes them feel.

Car sickness could be at the root of their worries. Or, they may feel claustrophobic in the back seat. These are issues you can address and overcome. But, you won’t be able to do that until you know what’s going on.

children riding in the back seat of a car

Pexels Image

Create distractions

Any parent knows the power of distraction, and that can work well for you here, too. If you can’t get to the bottom of the cause, this may be your best hope. Sometimes, fears and stresses come about through nothing more than overthinking. And, if that’s your child’s problem, distractions could be the cure. That means packing plenty of goodies to keep them amused. You could even take their favorite foods along to keep them happy. A picnic in the car is sure to take their mind off their worries. You could really make an event of this by taking along a cooler full of goodies on that long journey.

If you don’t have anything suitable as it stands, do a quick search of ‘what are the best coolers on the market’, and see what you find. Think, too, about taking along things which your child is only allowed in the car. Something like a book they can only read while on the road could work well. That way, they’ll have something to look forward to, instead of focusing on fear.

Take small drives before the big event

If you are planning a long vacation drive, it’s essential you don’t jump in at the deep end. Instead, take test journeys. If you’re going to be in the car for three or four hours, build this gradually. Take a half hour drive one day; an hour drive the next. Keep going until your child adjusts to these distances.


Children, like grown-ups, can have their own little concerns in life. Traveling should be a time to enjoy the road and time together but sometimes phobias can get in the way of that enjoyment. As parents, it is our job to do our best to address our children’s concerns and help them face any difficulties they may have so that they can enjoy life.

By addressing a child’s fear it is the best way to help them face it. By talking with your children and letting them know you do not judge but you are there to help them then you may be able to put an end to the fear altogether. 

My daughter is an overthinker and it can cause her undue anxiety so I have to make sure I reassure her. But the biggest help is distractions, once she forgets about- she forgets about it. 

Just like with any fear or phobia, facing it makes it easier to overcome it. So the more your child is exposed to the car gradually the more they will feel relief.

No parent wants their children to be in fear and no child’s fear is something to take lightly or humiliate them for. Take the steps while they are young to help them face and ease their fears so they will have the coping skills as adults.

Do you know a child with a car phobia?

Share your experiences below!

4 thoughts on “How to Travel Stress Free – 3 Tips To Help Children’s Fear of Car Rides”

  1. Oh my God, what a useful article. My daughter has fear of travel and cars, I am really glad you have shared this article full of useful information and tips. Thank you so very much, Melissa, I am sure this will help me and other parents too.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      My daughter uses to be very reluctant to ride in the car and anxious to do a lot of things actually but communication really helps. Talking to her when she is in doubt to find out why and reassure her always helps build her confidence. Children look to their parents for their strength so it is our responsibility to give it to them. I am glad you find the article useful.

  2. I was such an awful kid to drive around because of my constant car sickness…which has persisted into adulthood unless I’m the one driving. It is certainly worth asking if it’s stress-related or fixable, but at 36 I’m probably not gonna find out… great post! here’s to hoping parents have more luck than mine did!

    1. Hi Penelope,
      It is crazy how when you are car sick it doesn’t affect you driving. I think they are getting closer to solving those issues. I think it is at least anxiety related because my hubby gets car sick and he is very anxious. My daughter is an anxious kid and I think that plays into her issues. I agree and I hope parents will find the best way to deal with their situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *