Parenting on Halloween can feel like a scary thing!
Overcome five common Halloween hurdles using the Hand in Hand Parenting tools.
1. Refusing To Wear Costume:
So your child begged to be an astronaut but you bring out the costume and they run the other way?
Despite the obvious appeal of Halloween, ghouls and ghosts are far outside the everyday norm. Your little one may be anxious of what's to come or could be holding onto past experiences that have scared them.
Try humor to diffuse that tension first.
When they say no to the costume, say, “Oh goody! That means I can wear it.” Attempt to put your foot in the helmet, or your arm in a leg hole. Proceed to wander around the room like a spaced out astronaut or a mixed up monster trying to catch your child, and keeping missing.
Laughter lightens the tone for everyone, so keep doing whatever gets your child to giggle. If they are still reluctant, offer Special Time to give your connection an extra boost. Five minutes could transform your child's mindset, so that they feel more ready and willing to get that spacesuit on and have some fun.
And if not? Is dress up essential? Why not just go as yourselves?
2. Won't Join The Monster Mash:
Big groups and loud parties can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, and costumes at Halloween only push up the drama.
If your child feels reluctant to take part, try the Runaway Game: Hold your child and peek in together at the group. Then playfully say, “Let's run away,” and run away, jiggling your child in your arms.
Go back, peek, and run away again. Keep doing this as long as there is laughter. When you instigate running it takes away pressure you child has about participating. You provide closeness, both in your attention, and with your body, and you let your child view the party from a comfortable standpoint.
When they feel comfortable, you can suggest going to talk to someone they know or recognise. Try saying something like “I'm going to help you say hi to Finn.” this lets your child know that play has stopped but you are right by their side.
3. Fights Over Candy:
Kids can share well when they feel connected. Unfortunately Halloween does a lot to shake up those feelings.
Perhaps the evening's events remind them of a fearful past experience. Maybe they don't do so well with change. Maybe the scares and excitement overwhelm their little systems.
And then we add candy to the mix!
Many kids attach a lot of feelings to candy, so if their emotions run high, you aren't alone.
It helps to see fighting over candy as a signal for help and a need for extra safety.
“Once a child feels he can’t live another minute without a desired item, the feelings run high,” says Hand in Hand's founder Patty Wipfler. “A child will let a parent know he’s running on empty by wanting only what someone else has, or by wanting all of something.”
And so the fighting and squabbling begins.
Use laughter to bring relief and unite them against you.
Tell your kids, “No! I want all the candy!” Scoop up the candy and run away with a twinkle in your eye. Make a challenge over your shoulder: “Unless you can get it back?”
Bringing laughter to the situation dissolves tensions that stop children being generous.
Once the game is over and they “win” their candy back from you, they will be much more likely to treat each other better.
4. Wants ALL of the Candy. Now!
Excitement is at an all time high and the candy bag is bulging. Now your child is begging and whining to eat the contents and all you can see in your mind is the added chaos of a massive sugar high!
What to do?
Move in close and set a limit.
Move in close and set a limit.
Scoop your child onto your lap and set the limit in a calm, gentle voice. No lectures, harshness or bribes are needed. Just make eye contact, and listen.
Expect for some cries and resistance but don't fear.
This outburst helps release the underlying feelings that cause a child to beg and whine. This has more to do with the night's pulse-racing excitement and scares and less to do with loss over the actual candy.
If you can stay close and listen to the cries, you'll see your child shed those feelings and return to being more cooperative.
5. Your Feels Like Your Kids Have Gone Wild:
It's Halloween and your kids are wired. You might put it down to a sugar rush and excitement, but this isn't always the case.
They may actually be rattled or really scared.
Try taking them in your arms. Be physical at first. Swoop them up or play a roughhousing game to help them shed some of their big feelings through their bodies.
If they become tearful move to Staylistening.
Try stroking their back and say a few soothing words. “I'm here,” or “You are safe now,” builds safety that allows them to cry deeply and helps them shed their fears.
Once the session is over, you'll see calm return.
If you are planning some Halloween activities, have fun! (And don't forget a treat or two for yourself).
From the Hand in Hand Toolbox:
For more on Staylistening read: My Story: How Staylistening Helped My Family and Inspired Me
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