October is here, and with it comes the excitement of Halloween. For parents, this can be a fantastic opportunity to connect with their child to reduce any potential issues related to the spookiness of the season, advises a school counselor with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).
“As we gear up for spooky costumes and decorations, it’s essential to help our young children prepare for the Halloween season,” said Dr. Lori Hart, the elementary and middle school counseling coordinator for the district’s Postsecondary Readiness Department. “October also is National Communicate with Your Kid Month. Timing is perfect!”
Here are some helpful tips to increase communication and ensure a safe and enjoyable Halloween experience for your little ones:
- Prepare Early: Some children may find spooky costumes and decorations overwhelming. Start early by having conversations about Halloween, reading books, creating crafts, or visiting the Halloween aisle at a local store. These activities allow children to share their feelings and understand that Halloween costumes and decorations are all make-believe.
- Validate Your Child’s Feelings: Regardless of their age, acknowledge your child’s feelings and comfort level with planned activities. Provide extra time to discuss any concerns and assure them of their safety. Explore age-appropriate alternative activities, such as staying home with a trusted adult to pass out treats or attending a safe local Halloween event.
- Routine: Involve your child in planning the trick-or-treating route and timing. Discuss the evening’s routine beforehand to reduce surprises and unexpected feelings.
- Safety First: Halloween night can be hectic, so take extra safety precautions. Ensure your child wears reflective costume items for better visibility, carry flashlights, and always have a responsible adult accompany them while trick-or-treating. Monitor the treats they receive to ensure they are safe to consume.
- Think of Others: Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach empathy to your child. Explain that while they may enjoy Halloween activities, others may not feel the same way. Encourage healthy communication about respecting the personal space of other children they encounter during the evening.
“By following these tips, you can create an open and supportive environment for your child during the Halloween season,” Hart said. “National Communicate with Your Kid Month is an ideal time to strengthen your bond with your child and help them navigate the spookiness of Halloween while having a great time.”