The celebration of Halloween is sweeping over the U.S. and other parts of the world this week, and whether you choose to participate, your children will certainly notice something is going on! Lots of costumes and decorations, not to mention doorbells ringing.
Halloween can be somewhat overwhelming for a young child, but we have some suggestions to help make it an enjoyable experience for your family. Read along, and as always, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
Saying Thank You
Children are continually learning the appropriate behavior for new social situations. In this case, they will be learning what to do when someone gives them candy! You can help your child understand this social interaction with just a little practice.
In addition to simply prompting your child to say Thank You, try adding a little role play practice before Halloween. Start out by asking your partner or friend to play the ‘giver of candy.’ Model for your child exactly what to do, from walking up the driveway, to saying “Happy Halloween”, ringing the doorbell, and thanking your host for the candy.
Every family is different, so communicate your specific expectations with your child ahead of time to avoid any misunderstandings.
Follow the Child
Halloween is a great time to practice ‘following the child’, aka, closely observing your child to determine what he or she is most comfortable with.
If your child wants to dress up and hang out at home, that’s OK! If your child is really into trick or treating, figure out what your limits are going to be for going out, and stick with them.
Whatever your child would like to do, have a conversation about it ahead of time and make your decision as a family.
What do I do with all this candy?
This is a serious question. What can you do with all the candy your child receives? Like previous suggestions, decide ahead of time what you would like to do and prepare your child. “We will have a lot of candy around the house after Halloween, but we won’t eat it all in one night. We’ll have one piece a day until it’s gone.”
Alternatively, make a point of sharing candy with grandma, grandpa, or whoever might like to take some chocolate off your hands. It can be a Halloween tradition for your child to share with the whole family!
Real and Pretend
Lastly, for the very young child, remember that they are still trying to understand the world around them. Someone in a scary costume might seem real to them, so consider dressing in real life costumes like firefighters, nurses, construction workers or historical figures.
Help your child understand that they might see some people ‘pretending’ at Halloween. This is part of the celebration, and not something they will see everyday.
We hope these tips help you have an enjoyable Halloween!
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