Discipline Tips & Halloween Treats #1: This is the first part in a two part series where I will be sharing ways to use positive parenting tools during Halloween!
Treats, darkness, costumes! Staying up late, more treats! Halloween sure can be a lot of fun. It’s also a time when children can easily become overwhelmed and over-tired.
Too often all that fun turns into tears, tantrums and power struggles over choosing costumes, staying safe while trick-or treating, getting into bed and putting the candy away. How can positive parenting tools help?
Frightful costume struggles?
Give Choices: Children of all ages love to dress up, yet some children are more into elaborate costumes and others are perfectly happy with one accessory or a colorful t-shirt Try following your child’s preference and respect their ideas of what to wear as a costume. If your child is having a hard time narrowing down their costume choice or has something in mind that is not in line with your family values, try offering two or three costumes to choose from, sometimes all those options at the store are so overwhelming,
Ask Questions: Let’s say you spent a small fortune on a fabulous bumble bee outfit, or hours sewing a delightful tutu and then your child refuses to put it on! Try not to worry, your child is not rejecting you or your effort, they just changed their mind! Maybe you can ask if they want to try the costume on for a picture or try it on for the mirror. Ask yourself if having a struggle before leaving the house to trick or treat is really worth it.
When my first was four years old we spent weeks leading up to Halloween preparing a ghost costume together. On Halloween day he changed his mind and decided to be a bat wearing his brown pants backwards because it was more “bat- like” according to him. He went trick or treating and had a lovely time. Nobody noticed his pants on backwards and we used the ghost as decoration instead!
Is your child afraid of the dark? Worried about street safety while trick-or-treating?
Be Prepared: If you are headed trick-or-treating and your child is afraid of the dark, try giving your child a small flashlight or some glow sticks or bracelets. Giving your child the power to control some light can go a long way. Also, walking with a friend or two together can take the focus offthe darkness. If your child really does not want to walk in the dark at all, return home and spend some time together instead, maybe hide a few pieces of candy around the house and have an indoor candy hunt instead.
Take Time To Review: Before leaving for trick-or-treating or a Halloween party, take time to review with your child what is expected and safety guidelines. For example, talk about walking on sidewalks, waiting to cross the street and when to hold hands. Depending on where you will trick-or-treat or your child’s age, review safety guidelines about accepting candy, staying with the group and so on.
Practice: For toddlers and preschoolers it may be worth pretending to trick-or-treating at home. Practice wearing the costume and walking around, holding a flash light and so on. Toddlers and preschoolers really enjoy being familiar with what they are expected to do and doing things over, and over, and over again!
Looking for ideas to prevent struggles with all the Halloween candy?
Want some positive ways to deal with meltdowns during trick-or-treating?
Don’t miss part 2!!