Most parents and non-parents alike know that children have fears. Some childhood fears are outgrown and others linger, and this is for the most part easy and normal to deal with for the parent. What happens though, when one child has a fear of something the other child enjoys or wants to do? For example, one child may have a fear of dogs and the other only wants a puppy as a birthday present. Or one child may love go-karts and roller coasters, but the other has a fear of rides, including kids rides. Ensuring family fun at the amusement center or entertainment park can be tough with opposite wants and desires. As for many parents, they know that the interesting amusement ride for kids can be important.Below are five tips to help manage such an outing.
Sometimes it is best to walk the child with the fear of the rides around the park and gauge the reaction to various rides and activities. It may be that the parent soon realizes there are certain types of rides that invoke fear. Maybe one that spins a lot or perhaps it is the one that goes into a dark tunnel. Once that is known, avoid those types of rides and look for ones that both (or all) children may participate in and enjoy.
Sometimes, the best way to work through a fear is to address it in slow, gentle, easy steps. For amusement center rides, it may be that starting with something slow and that remains on the ground is best. A train ride, or a slow loop of the go-kart track, or even time in the moonwalk may help ease tensions and fears for more “grown-up” rides.
There are many kids rides that will also accommodate an adult. Offer to ride with the child and talk to them throughout the process. By having fun as a parent, the enjoyment and thrill of rides is modeled in a healthy way. Also, if the child becomes too upset, the parent will be there to comfort and provide a hug once the ride is over. Also, if there is a sibling, friend, or relative who is along with the outing, this can be a good time for all to ride together and for the child with fears to see other kids laughing and enjoying rides.
Talk it Over
Perhaps one of the best tips is to talk to the child who is nervous about rides before the trip to the park. Explain that there will be rides and how the park operates the rides in a safe manner. This is also a time to explain that once on a ride, the child must wait until it is over before getting off, so to not try to be too brave or keep up with others who aren’t afraid.
Sometimes, the parents must accept that one child will ride many rides and the other simply won’t. This doesn’t mean that trips to the entertainment park are out of the question, it just means that there will be certain activities not experienced by all. When the rides are occurring, look for other fun activities such as mini golf, arcade games or the moonwalk to occupy the non kids ride rider and then sit back and bask in their enjoyment and fun.