HALLOWEEN AND TODDLERS
By Dr. Cindy Bunin, Cambridge School Coral Springs, Director
Most parents have fond memories of scampering through their neighborhood on Halloween night dressed as a fairy princess or superhero. For a toddler experiencing Halloween for the first time however, this magical holiday can provoke a range of emotions including fear, insecurity, and confusion. Take the time to be certain your child’s Halloween is a positive experience:
- Highlight the festive aspects of the holiday. Decorate your house in Halloween colors without emphasizing frightening images such as monsters, tombstones, or ghouls.
- A few days before Halloween, have a dress rehearsal. By putting on a costume, your toddler will better understand the holiday. If your child is not ready to put on a costume, don’t pressure them.
- Costumes for toddlers work best when they’re created out of something they feel comfortable in. Children this age are unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, so scary masks are not usually a good idea.
- Most toddlers are more comfortable celebrating Halloween during the daylight hours.
- Be sure your child remembers to say “thank you” for their treats.
After you roam the neighborhood with your kids gathering tons of candy, the bargaining begins. How much candy should they be allowed to eat? Be sure your children are aware of your policy PRIOR to trick-or-treating, and stick with it once it’s been established. Here are a couple of options that might help you control the amount of candy consumed in your house:
- Take away the candy bags when your kids return from trick-or-treating, and ration out a limited number of pieces daily. This takes work on your part (especially dealing with the begging and the whining), but at least you won’t have to worry about your kids overdosing on sugar.
- Permit your children to keep a portion of their haul and give the rest away to a senior citizens, center, office building, or charitable organization.