More than 1,600 stores sold Halloween costumes in 2012, reports the U.S. Census, and those costumes include cartoon characters, monsters and every type of character in between. For young children and preschoolers, Halloween can turn into a fearful and traumatic experience because of spooky stories, graphic decorations and those realistic-looking costumes. As leaves change colors and pumpkins make debuts, help your child feel safe with the following strategies.
If only all monsters were cute and cuddly like Sully from the Monsters, Inc movies. Monsters are actually downright disgusting with bloody appendages or bulging eyeballs. Others scarily resemble zombies, mutated humans or aliens. Dr. Kristin Lagattuta explains that young children can tell the difference between things that are real and imaginary unless they feel fearful. Emotions take over reality.
Rather than ridiculing your child for being afraid of imaginary monsters, acknowledge the emotions that are very real to her. Encourage a balance between facing and ignoring her fears. Kool Smiles reminds parents not to avoid the dentist just because your preschooler feels anxious — similarly, don’t avoid Halloween costumes either. Take a casual trip to the costume store and check out a variety of Halloween costumes that are funny and scary. Explain how these costumes aren’t real and meant to be fun and entertaining.
More than 100,000 species of arachnids ignite fear in millions of people. Spider decorations may arouse fear within your preschooler and make her squirm and even cry. Help your child cope with her fear of spiders by reading cute children’s books like “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle, “A Tale of Ashanti” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Engage your child with a crafty art project and make a yarn spider web from teachpreschool.org. Also, talk about the benefits of real spiders and how they’re good for the environment. Your child may still have apprehension toward spiders, but reading books and talking about the creatures are a start toward helping her feel more comfortable during the ghoulish holiday.
Darkness can be terrifying, whether it’s the bedroom at night or neighborhood streets at dusk. A vivid imagination visualizes a boogeyman, alien or other scary creature lurking in the shadows. A fear of darkness can be troublesome for a little one during Halloween. Empathize with your child if she’s hestitant to celebrate because of the dark sky while trick-or-treating.
Combat your preschooler’s fear of the dark by giving her control of the environment. Provide her with a fun flashlight, headlamp or nightlight that illuminates her room and other dark spaces. Monitor what she watches on TV and try to see the images and hear the sounds through her young eyes and ears. Avoid graphic decorations or decor that may create scary shadows on the wall. Also, scope out the neighborhood for a safe and lit route that avoids more mature lawn decorations that are too scary for small children.
I am committed to providing the highest quality of care and maintain a deep desire to facilitate personal transformation that allows individuals to live whole-heartedly. My desire is that individuals live a life embodied with peace, joy, love, and prosperity. I hope to accomplish my purpose, which is to help you live your dream of realizing your fullest potential in a personal and meaningful manner that allows you to live the life you want.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.