For many kids Halloween is a fun time of year. They get to dress up as their favorite character and go trick or treating with friends. But for some kids, Halloween brings out anxiety and dread. Many young children have vivid imaginations and are unable to differentiate between what's real and what's pretend. This is completely normal and they should grow out of it as their get older.
To help make the night more enjoyable for everyone, here are a few tips you can try:
1. Tell your kiddos what to expect
For some children not knowing what to expect is what causes their anxiety. Explain to them what they may encounter while you are out trick or treating. Take your child to the costume store so they can look at the different costumes or decorations they may see, in a non scary environment. Go to the library and look at Halloween books together.
2. Dial down the fear
For many kids (and adults) half of the fun of Halloween is being scared. Let your kiddo know that trick or treaters are just pretending to act scary. Ask your child what he or she is afraid of and talk to them about it. Acknowledge their fear without shaming them or telling them "it's not scary".
3. Stick with the familiar
If your child is nervous about visiting strangers' houses, visit familiar houses first. Start with neighbors and friends' houses and as your child becomes more comfortable, you can venture out to other houses or neighborhoods.
4. Turn off the dark
If your kiddo is afraid of the dark, consider going out while there is still some light out. If this isn't an option for your family, let your child be in charge of carrying the flashlight or consider carrying a camping lantern.
5. Travel in groups
Many kids feel more comfortable traveling in a small group of familiar people; parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.
6. Don't force the fun
While it is often helpful to encourage children to confront situations their fear, forcing a screaming child to do something they don't want to do may make the fear worse. Remember, your encouragement should be positive and supportive. Be prepared to end the night early.
7. Stay home
If your child is too afraid to go out, consider having him or her dress up and do something fun at home. Your kiddo may enjoy passing out candy to trick or treaters, or may just want to look at them through the window. The key here is to let your child confront their fear in a way that is comfortable for them.
8. Use essential oils
Many essential oils are helpful to reduce stress and anxiety. You can apply them to your child before trick or treating, or if your child wants to stay home, you can diffuse a calming scent. The oils that would be ideal in this situation are; Lavender and Frankincense, Peace and Calming or Stress Away.
Most of all, remember what the holiday is all about. Halloween is supposed to be fun, but fun isn't mandatory. Parents want what's best for their children but it is the comfort and joy of the kids that should come first. If this isn't the year for your child to break out of his or her shell, there is always next year.
If your kiddos are like mine, they LOVE to play with Play-Doh. My boys love to mix the colors and often forget to put the lids on the containers after they are done playing. So that leads to a lot of ugly colored, dried up Play-Doh and this mama was sick of having to buy more and more of it! A friend of mine told me she made her own playdough and that it was so easy, just to go on Pinterest and look for recipes.
So I went on Pinterest and there are A LOT of recipes. I mean, a TON. I tried out several recipes and made notes on each recipe, notating what worked and what didn't. Finally I combined a couple of recipes and VOILA! I had the perfect playdough recipe that only cost pennies to make. Oh and it is SO easy too. Seriously, even if you aren't a DIYer, you can totally make this.
2.5 cups of water
1 1/4 cups salt
1.5 tbsp Cream of Tartar
5 tbsp vegetable oil
2.5 cups of flour
food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Mix the flour, salt and Cream of Tartar into a large saucepan.
- Heat water until boiling ( you can microwave, use an electric kettle or traditional kettle) add oil and stir to combine.
- Add water to the flour mixture in saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over low heat and stir frequently. Keep stirring until a ball forms and dough loses it's stickiness.
- Turn out dough onto a counter top and let cool.
- Once it is cool enough to handle, knead dough until smooth.
- Divide into 4 equal balls and add a drop or two of food coloring to each ball and knead to distribute. **
** If you plan on only making one color play dough, you can add the food coloring to the water after boiling, in step 2.
And that's it! Seriously. Yes, you will get a bit of a workout stirring the dough into a ball but it takes less than 5 minutes to make.
You can also add essential oils, spices, or glitter to make the play dough more of a sensory game. Here are some ideas for making extra special play dough.
- Pumpkin Pie Play Dough- Mix in pumpkin pie spice while you are kneading the dough or use a mixture or cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. Try adding orange or reddish brown food coloring to the dough for visual affect.
- Glowing Play Dough- For this you will need Glo Away by Plaid. While cooking the dough in the saucepan, when it starts to become a ball but isn't too sticky, add a few tablespoons of Glo Away and mix in. You will need a black light while playing to get the glowing affect.
- Relaxing Play Dough- When adding the food coloring, add 1-2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil. For fun, use a light purple coloring to the dough.
- Calm Down Play Dough- When adding the food coloring, add 1-2 drops of Stress Away Essential Oil.
- Gak- 8oz of Elmer's School Glue, 8 oz water, 1 tsp of Borox mixed into 1/2 c of warm water, food coloring (optional). Mix glue and water together in a mixing bowl. Add food coloring, if using. Slowly add small amounts of Borox solution to water-glue solution and mix. Keep adding small amounts of Borox until it comes together like slime.
Now get out there and have FUN with your kids. Don't worry about getting messy, these are the times your kids are learning and making memories. Let them be little, let them be silly and let them be messy. There's always time for cleaning, but they won't always be this small.