After a young child watches a scary movie or is frightened by a Halloween costume, parents should reach for a can of anti-monster spray before bedtime, says Theresa Kruczek, a counseling psychology professor at Ball State University.
“Preschool children and those in early elementary school often have a difficult time with Halloween,” she says. “Children this age often struggle with separating fantasy from reality and a result they may get confused and think the scary elements of Halloween are real.”
“After a frightening experience, children may have nightmares. They really can’t tell us too much about the dream, but we can take some precautions to ward off those dreams by using a can of air freshener, otherwise known as anti-monster spray, to keep monsters at bay. Monsters don’t like nice-smelling stuff.”
Kruczek also advises:
- Limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of activities, including trick-or-treating, and only during daylight hours.
- Ask friends and strangers to take off masks to show children that there really is a person under the costume.
- Parents and siblings should never wear masks around youngsters afraid of such items.
- In families with children of varying age ranges, allow each youngster to participate in age-appropriate activities.
- Avoid haunted houses unless the facility offers age-appropriate activities.
“Just because you love haunted houses doesn’t mean your 4-year-old will,” Kruczek says. “Parents are in the best position to know what frightens their child and to help them cope with Halloween. If kids freak out during a scary movie, they’ll freak out at a haunted house or when someone in a scary outfit comes by.”
SOURCE: Ball State University