What would you guess is the #1 problem our parents have with Halloween?
If you guessed behavioral or self-regulation issues, you’d be right! In fact, this is usually the biggest problem our parents face in any situation, or at any event or holiday.
What It Looks Like
Behavioral/self-regulation issues can look like a child suddenly refusing to participate in Halloween or to go out trick-or-treating, even though they were excited about it earlier. When it comes time, the sensory stimulation is sometimes just too much and the child just can’t do it and digs in.
Or, behavioral/self-regulation issues can look like a child getting overstimulated when out trick-or-treating, running around and not listening, and making the event miserable for everyone.
Or, maybe your child doesn’t get the candy they want, and they have a meltdown right there at the door.
How To Prevent These Issues
These behavioral and self-regulation issues can take a fun holiday and ruin it for your child and everyone around them. How can you prevent these problems and have a fun and safe holiday?
First of all, make sure you are doing the “sensory diet” that your therapist has given you, to help with self-regulation.
Take Control of The Day
Then, take control of the day and plan it out so that it is as predictable as possible. If you need strategies for this, talk to your therapist. They will be more than happy to give you tips! You want to take control of this time rather than just letting things happen because it’s usually when you’re just letting things happen that the problems occur. Plan for the worst, and hopefully, you’ll get the best!
Skip It If You Need To
Remember that Halloween is not a mandatory holiday. You do not have to participate. Many of us are single parents, or we don’t have another parent at home to help out. If you go trick-or-treating with your kiddo you have to either shut your house down or leave a bowl of candy out. Maybe your neighborhood is very respectful of that, but I have a lot of teenagers in my neighborhood and last time I did this, my bowl was stolen! Leaving your house like this can be stressful. Maybe staying at home with your child and having them dress up and participate in handing out candy (if they want to) is the way to go.
For those of you who have more than one child, dividing and conquering might be the way to go. One parent could stay home with the kiddo that is not going trick-or-treating, while your other kids go out with the other parent or a neighbor.
If Halloween is an absolute no for your child, turn your light out, put a note on the door and go watch a movie. Take control of your night!
We want to make sure that when we participate in these things that they’re fun, enriching to everyone, and not stressful.
Plan ahead, and have a Happy Halloween!