It’s October y’all! Whether you like it or not, Halloween is fast approaching. From spooky signs in retail establishments to scary movies on every channel; Halloween is unavoidable this time of year. Now, all of this may be great for you guys who enjoy the sweet feeling of adrenaline when frightened by simulated scary things; but to a preschooler, who doesn’t yet understand make-believe, Halloween can be super scary.
Preschoolers have vivid imaginations. Watching even a mildly scary movie before bedtime can mean a long night of monster battling for mommy and daddy. Theresa Kruczek, PhD – a licensed psychologist and school guidance counselor – suggests using an “anti-monster” spray to ward off those scary monsters.
I personally researched this concept and think that it’s absolutely brilliant. I happened upon a variation of the idea that didn’t involve air freshener. (Because leaving a can of air freshener with a 3-year-old didn’t sound like something I cared to try.)
Simply grab an empty spray bottle and craft a fun “anti-monster spray” label for it. Fill the bottle with water and add a drop of food coloring to give it a little character. When the kiddies scream monster, reach for the bottle and give the monster’s popular hiding spots a quick spray (i.e.: under beds and behind doors).
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The idea is that you’re giving your children a bit of the control back. “There’s a monster and there’s something I can do about it,” is what your kids will believe. When the “monsters don’t exist” talk doesn’t pan out (preschoolers can be pretty insistent on this monster thing), having a spray around will give your child a true sense of empowerment.
Here are a few other great tips from Dr. Kruczek that will ensure you’ll make it through Halloween without stressing out your preschooler:
- If you’re a household that celebrates Halloween, limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of Halloween activities. Things like trick-or-treating should be kept to a minimum and should only be done during daylight hours. The older kids generally tend to start their trick-or-treating later in the evening. Their costumes have a tendency to be more elaborate and scary which can be a lot for a 3-year-old to handle while outside at night.
- Ask friends (and even strangers if you’re comfortable) to take off masks for a moment in order to show your child that there’s just a person underneath the costume.
- And parents – I know you may get a kick out of it – but wearing scary masks around your child when you know he or she is afraid of it is a big no, no. Older siblings can be relentless when it comes to this; so be sure the entire family is on the same page.
- And, unless a facility offers age-appropriate activities, avoid haunted houses all together. Mommy, just because you like to have the pants scared off of you doesn’t mean your 4-year-old child will too.
Just remember, no one knows your child better than you do. Make good judgment calls in regards to what you expose your little one to this Halloween. If a scary movie gives your child the heebie-jeebies, than a scary mask or haunted house will most likely do the same.
Given that I liked the “anti-monster spray” so much, I decided to create and offer you guys a cool label for you to print and place on your own “anti-monster spray” bottles. I made this one up for the kids and it was a huge hit.
Simply print, cut at the dotted line, and tape around your spray bottle. (The clear cylindrical shaped spray bottles from the dollar store work best.) Then have fun being a hero to your kid!