Halloween is just around the corner, which means ghosts, ghouls and vampires soon may be populating your sidewalk. While you may understand that it’s just your neighbors in costume, youngsters may actually be frightened by these pretend monsters.
"Preschool children and those in early elementary school often have a difficult time with Halloween," says Theresa Kruczek, a counselor and educator at Ball State University. "Some may say they understand when things are make believe and when they are not, but it still may not register when the event occurs.”
If your child is easily spooked, it could make bedtime a little rough during this time of year. Kruczek says that one creative way to prevent nightmares is to use air freshener as an “anti-monster spray.” Just tell kids that the creepy creatures hate things that smell nice, and a few sprays will ward off any late-night visits.
Kruczek’s other tips for keeping Halloween fear-free include:
-Limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of activities, including trick-or-treating, and only during daylight hours.
-Ask friends and strangers to take off masks to show children that it really is a person under the costume.
-Parents and siblings should never wear masks around youngsters afraid of such items.
-In families with children of varying age ranges, allow each youngster to participate in age-appropriate activities.
-Avoid haunted houses unless the facility offers age-appropriate activities.