By Elyssa Yeh, MA, R-DMT
It’s Halloween time, a time that can be filled with tricks, treats, and lots of fun for kiddos and families! However, it’s also a time of year that you, your child, and your family may find yourselves trying to overcome some tricky obstacles.
While Halloween festivities can be filled with socializing, dressing up, and a time that many children and families look forward to, it can also be anxiety inducing, over-stimulating, and not the favorite time of year for others. More specifically, for children and families affected by special needs.
Between the costumes, crowds, loud noises and the expectation to shout “Trick-or-Treat!” for candy and goodies; children who struggle to verbally express themselves, process sensory stimuli, and interact with others can find themselves in challenging situations when it comes to this time of year.
Now, this doesn’t mean your family and kiddos have to miss out on the bashes and monster mashes. Instead, it may be helpful and fair to you and your kiddos to do some preparation.
As a dance teacher often helping my students prepare for their big recital, I know all too well the value of preparation to help set our kids up for success. Between itchy costumes, dressing rooms packed with people, traditions and expectations that are brand new, and unfamiliar lights, sounds, and sights - there’s a whole lot to chat about before making our debut on stage.
Likewise, for your kiddos and your family, it may be beneficial that you all prepare for the celebrations that you and your family have agreed to participate in this year.
To help make the most out of your family’s Halloween season, here’s a few resources I love:
The Understood Team at Understood Learning & Attention Issues have identified 5 Common Halloween Challenges for Kids with ADHD, such as impulse control and tricky transitions. Many of these are also applicable and transferable to children who do not necessarily carry an ADHD diagnosis.
In Halloween Tips for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, members of the Autism Parent Advisory Board and Kathryn Smith, RN, DrPH of the Boone Fetter Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have compiled some tips for parents and caregivers to try this Halloween season in an attempt to circumvent some of the common barriers. Again, I believe that many of these tips are important to keep in mind for all kiddos and families!
Finally, if you, your child, and your family find yourselves bored at home, here are some fun ideas for Halloween Experiments and STEM Projects that can be done if you find yourselves at home early, staying in for the night, or on another night this Halloween season!