Sometimes that excitement can be a little overwhelming:
--The costume isn't exactly what they imagined.
--The costume is too big and they're tripping or too tight and uncomfortable.
--There are some scary decorations, or bigger kids (or adults!) jumping out and frightening your child.
--It is dark, and sometimes cold.
--There is a lot of walking, as well as approaching new houses and faces.
--Familiar faces and places may look different, because of the dark and the costumes.
--It happens, ironically enough, at the 'witching hour' of parenting.
The meltdowns may happen before you go out, when the costume isn't just right, or the child can't sit still to have the make-up they begged for applied.
The meltdowns may happen when you are in the neighborhood, and they are cold, or hungry for real food, or tired, or scared.
The meltdowns may happen when you announce it is time to go home, or when you get home and they realize that you meant it when you said they had had their last piece of candy for the day.
Meltdowns happen at all ages. The bigger the kid, the more frustrating it can be for all involved.
Before you go out this year, take a few minutes to discuss what is going to happen:
For the trick or treater just old enough to understand, plan on only visiting a few houses. It is easier to do more, than to do less than promised. Remember that any part of the costume that can be detached may end up carried by the parent. Plan accordingly.
For an elementary school age child, make a plan together.
- How much of the neighborhood will you plan to cover?
- Is there an end time, whether or not you've gotten everywhere you planned?
- How much candy can be eaten that day, and do they need to eat some 'real' food before you go out?
- Will they need to shower and/or brush when you get home?
For an older child, going out with friends, review safety information. Make sure your child knows what time you expect them to be home, or if you expect to be able to connect with them while they are out.
Is your 'too young to go alone' child seeking some independence on this child-friendly holiday? Decide beforehand if they can go up to doors by themselves, or even walk ahead a few doors with a friend.
If you have children of varying ages and abilities, make sure that he older child knows they can't go faster than the slowest member of the party. Alternatively, consider how you can ensure that your eight year old doesn't miss Halloween because the two year old can not walk as far.
For more information about building strong and happy families, visit my website at http://mommybutstillme.com/
Happy Halloween, and good luck enjoying the witching hour this Thursday!