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Halloween Fears: Here’s How You Can Help Your Kids Cope

Friday, October 27, 2017 8:04 AM

Getting ready for Halloween can be so much fun; the days are filled with excitement over new costumes, parties and plenty of goodies. At the same time, many kids and teens are coming face-to-face with some of their biggest fears.

Dr. Rebecca Nelson, NorthShore child and adolescent psychologist notes that having fears is perfectly normal, and times like Halloween offer a lot of opportunities for parents to start a discussion in order to help their children better understand their emotions. She offers useful tips below for main points you can cover:

Children need a sense of control over fears to effectively address them.

  1. Provide choices of activities and costumes
  2. Let them know what to expect
  3. Provide alternatives if activities begin to get "spooky"

Children with sensitive temperaments can benefit from extra planning for Halloween.

  1. Begin talking about Halloween over the summer
  2. Have a contingency plan
  3. Come up with activities for both day and nighttime
  4. Buddy-up
  5. Bring a favorite cuddly along when you go out

Getting "spooked" happens - What can you do when it does?

  1. Comfort and communicate with your child
  2. Get personal - share a time when you as a parent were scared on Halloween
  3. Monitor sleep and behavior: If disrupted, consult with a mental health professional or contact your pediatrician for a referral

Remember: We want to manage their emotions so their emotions don't manage them.

What do you do to help your kids face their fears?