5 Tips to take the Scary out of Parenting This Halloween
1. Get them involved: Fewer power struggles occur when kids know the rules upfront and feel like they have some control. Rather than handing out orders about which streets they will visit and in what order, know your basic boundaries and then ask them how they will make it work:
You can wear your coat under your costume or your hoodie and fleece. You decide. You can stay out until 7:15 or 7:30, what time makes sense to you? If each street takes about 15 minutes, that means you can do about 6 streets, where would you like start and what route will we take?
2. “You can,” rather than “You can’t.” As mentioned above, determine routes, timing and how much candy your kids can eat on Halloween night and then use “Can” language rather than “Can’t” language to tell them.
You can stay out until this time. You are free to eat up to 5 pieces of candy when you get home tonight – just let me check it first.
3. How will you get out the door to get those goodies? Make a schedule so that everyone knows the flow before you head out the door Halloween night. Let your kids know the order (will it be costumes, then dinner or the other way around), let them know what you expect them to eat at dinner, and the timeline so that everyone is in costume and out the door when you want to be. The more you can do this in advance and in writing, the less fuss there will be in the heat of the moment when everyone is very excited.
4. When will the night end? Decide what the end of the night looks like. If kids are getting up for school the next morning, when is lights out and accordingly, when is bathroom, brush, books and bed going to start? Outline that in advance and set a timer to tell everyone when candy-sorting needs to end and the bedtime routine begin.
5. What happens with all of those treats? Some families are about eating all the candy as fast as possible. Others are about saving it and making it last. Your family might give the candy to the homeless or ship it off to a seniors’ lodge. Whatever your system, make it clear in advance. This doesn’t mean that your kids will love whatever decision you make. What it means is that they have at least had some warning that the candy is leaving or will be eaten only on the weekends and predictability = control so things are less likely to get out of hand.
Have a hauntingly happy Halloween!