It’s time once again for Heather Johnson from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips” here on The Idea Room. Here’s Heather in her own words and sharing how parents should support kids and their interests.
- Does your toddler get scared when they see store displays, fake spiders, mummies and skeletons? Take a few minutes to explain to them that decorations are part of holiday celebrations. Explain that just like colored eggs are part of Easter, and Christmas Trees are part of Christmas, skeletons and jack-o-lanterns are part of Halloween. Don’t forget to explain that the decorations are temporary and will be taken down as soon as Halloween is over.
- Explain that none of the decorations are real, but instead, pretend. Pick up and touch the decorations yourself so it is clear that the decoration is harmless. Then, invite your child to touch the decorations like you have. We have had to work through this with every one of our children. My parents have this great spider that crawls up the window whenever there is a loud noise. It is an awesome decoration. Every one of our kids is scared of it at first. We have to hold the spider ourselves and pet it before they will consider even being in the same room with the decoration. After we have held it a few times, we ask them if they want to hold it themselves. After watching us, they are eventually willing to give it shot. Remember to not force them to engage, just offer.
- If store displays still make them uncomfortable, consider leaving them at home while you run your errands.
Is your child scared of the costumes?
- Encourage non-scary costumes. Leave out the blood and gore. Instead of ghosts and goblins, encourage them to dress up as a character they are familiar with. This might include a favorite T.V., movie, or book character. You could also suggest they dress up as the people they pretend to be every day while they play. When our daughter was little she didn’t want to wear a costume, but she loved to play “teacher”. We suggested she be a teacher for Halloween and it solved our costume problem. This helped us with our son also. When he was little he liked to pretend to be different animals. He didn’t really care for costumes either, but when I asked him if he wanted to be a dog, his animal of the week, he was all for it.
- Encourage them to dress up before Halloween night so they can become more comfortable with their costume. Playing make believe in their costumes will also help them understand the difference between real and make believe. When Halloween night rolls around, wearing the costume wont be a big deal at all.
- Forgo the masks. Small children usually don’t like masks, lots of makeup, or things on their heads. Don’t make them part of their costumes. Instead, put their costume on and then apply a few basic details with face paint. Keep it simple. Too much face paint could irritate their skin and bug them.
- Dress them up as themselves. If your little one is uncomfortable with costumes and face paint, have them pick out their favorite outfit, and dress up as themselves. Who better for them to be than them. :)
Is your child nervous about Trick-or-Treating?
- Practice trick-or-treating. Have your child ring your door bell. When you answer, have them say trick-or-treat and give them a little something. Remind them to say thank you, and then have them practice again. This will make trick-or-treating less scary because they will know what to expect.
- If your little one is scared to go door-to-door, plan on only visiting a few houses that they are already familiar with. Start with your immediate neighbors that they say hi to everyday. Visit friend’s homes where they have play dates and relatives homes if they live near by.
- Trick-or-treat before it gets dark. It is much less scary to walk to a new door when it is still light outside. With your trick-or-treating done early, you can head home when it gets dark and let your little one help you answer the door for the trick-or-treaters. Or, if you want to stay out as a family, you can put your little one in a stroller and continue on together. Let them eat one of their treats and you will have a happy little monster.
- If your child is shy or scared, go to the door with them. You can even say trick-or-treat for them. After a few doors, they will start to understand how things work and want to be involved. It is also fun to have them go to the door with an older sibling. This will make them feel more comfortable.
- Talk to your child about what will happen Halloween night. Prepare them by verbally explaining what they will be doing. Talk to them about what is happening as you trick-or-treat also. Communicating will do much to curb nerves. You can even point out how other kids are trick-ot-treating so they can see examples.
- If your child insists they don’t like being out and want to go home, take them home. There is no need to force them up to people’s doors.
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