Tips On Explaining Halloween Traditions To Toddlers
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year. According to a CNN report, nearly two-thirds of Americans planned to celebrate the haunting holiday in 2015. The massive industry relies on our fascination with horror. Frightening images are everywhere leading up to the end of October. It's impossible to completely shield kids from the scary imagery associated with the holiday. As we get closer to Halloween, kids, especially young kids, will inevitably begin to ask question about the holiday. Here's a few tips on explaining scary things to your toddlers.
Make Believe Makes It Okay
Subjects like Halloween are complex and can be difficult to simplify. The matter only gets more complicated when you make an attempt to simplify things without properly explaining them. It is easy for adults to tell kids that everything they see on Halloween isn't real. However, for kids with no experience in the matter, knowing something isn't real doesn't prevent the image from being frightening in and of itself. It's a great start to point out that Halloween is fake, but make sure to explain why it's fake. Begin your conversation by focusing on what things have scared them and move on, when you feel they're comfortable, to things they're likely to see on Halloween night.
Cartoons And Comedy
Pointing out that something isn't real might not be a strong enough thing for young children to grasp. When fighting the fear, it's important to have weapons. One of the best weapons against fear is comedy, and one of the best resources for comedy for children are cartoons. While there are plenty of family-friendly cartoons that cover some of the bigger Halloween themes, it isn't a solution that's perfect on its own. It's more beneficial for your child to see your attitude and learn by watching you respond and interact with the spooky aspects of Halloween. Keep it light, and don't expect common phrases like "Don't be scared," or "It's not scary," to solve anything.
Dispelling the fear around Halloween can be better accomplished with participation. If you can get your kid involved in an innocent way, such as dressing up and going around for an early day of trick-or-treating, it will help them experience everything for themselves. Personal experience with dressing up will make it easier to understand that scary costumes are just costumes. Going around the neighborhood getting candy will help them get a better feel for the decorations, the symbols, and the festivity of it all. Just be sure to go before nightfall to avoid scarier costumes, and try to acclimate them to homes leaning more toward Thanksgiving porch decorations than ghoulish graveyards with frightening lights and sound effects.
Young kids, even toddlers, are never short on imagination. You can, and should, use this to your advantage. When facing scary things, the goal isn't to eliminate fear altogether. Fear is a pretty common sensation they'll face throughout their lives, and can't always be controlled. As much as we might want to, we can't just will something to stop being frightening. However, we can give ourselves ways to feel like we have some sort of power over that fear. Give them a special article of clothing that protects them against ghosts and witches, or a magic wand that they can use to guard themselves when evil things appear. And always be willing to play along.
You can't expect to shield your kids completely from the scary parts of Halloween. Sooner or later, they're going to see some things you don't think they should see. Do your best to prepare them, help them through bad experiences and always follow up to explain things if you know it has made a negative impression on them. Find kid-friendly Halloween decor and more, as well as toys to reinforce imaginative play like a toddler kitchen playset at The Lakeside Collection.