Parenting with Pruett: Common Preschool Halloween Mistakes by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D., advisor to The Goddard School
As a child psychiatrist, school consultant, father and grandfather, I’ve seen a lot of All Hallows’ Eve’s involving preschool children – more unsuccessful than not. I’ve come to the conclusion that successful Halloween experiences contain the same traits: the children are old enough, the celebration is short, too much candy is avoided and it isn’t scary.
Parents intend to delight – and delight in – their preschool child’s playful participation in this fall ritual. But less is more when it comes to keeping a preschooler comfortable and entertained. Here are some guidelines:
Halloween is really meant for school-age kids and adults who have no trouble telling fantasy from reality and whom are way past being afraid of the dark and of scary masks. The preschooler is less likely to laugh and more likely to anxiously ask the mask-wearer a question – cute, but neither funny nor entertaining.
Tying Halloween into dinner plans often stretches the evening out beyond your preschooler’s stamina, making all the other strange stuff inherent to the event harder to manage and understand. Plan to stick to your routine, and celebrate well before bedtime so your preschooler has a chance to settle down.
Candy is the antithesis of your normal bedtime snack, giving your child a sugar rush. So, keep them away from the candy bowl. You may want to reconsider having them stay home to ‘help hand out the treats,’ tempting though it may be to have them ‘safe’ with you at your own front door.
Because the preschool mind is just mastering the difference between reality and fantasy, things that slip back and forth over the edge of that distinction – like Halloween itself – aren’t very comfortable training grounds for this kind of learning. Older children can see the joy in being scared because they understand the difference. A preschooler is not quite ready for this kind of ‘fun.’
For your young ones, then, I suggest you make it a dress-up party without the gore, leave the trick or treating to the grade school professionals, check your favorite parents magazine/Web site for some simple games to play with peers and get them to bed at a reasonable time. Giving them and yourself a few more years to get ready for the delightful weirdness will be deeply appreciated by them and you.
Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. is an advisor for The Goddard School. Dr. Pruett is an authority on child development who has been practicing child and family psychiatry for over twenty-five years. He is a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University’s Child Study Center.
Establishing a strong, open line of communication between parents and teachers is an essential part of any child’s education. Doing so allows parents to always remain apprised of their child’s progress and, should a problem arise, allows for easy discussion on ways to address and remedy the situation.
Never hesitate to get the lines of communication flowing. As your child’s teacher greets each new student on the first day of school, take advantage of the situation to introduce yourself as well. Ask how and when would be the best time to contact them if you have questions or just want to check in on your child’s progress.
Try to communicate with your child’s teacher regularly. Frequent chats help build your parent-teacher relationship and allow for a constant flow of feedback so you both can better understand and address your child’s needs.
Becoming involved in school events and/or parent-teacher organizations offers another great forum for developing parent-teacher communication. Make an effort to attend open houses, social events and/or join the school’s PTO.
Once the lines of communication are established, you and your child’s teacher can work together throughout the school year to monitor and guide your child’s educational goals.
Mummy-Dogs, Halloweenies and Witch Eyes
Looking for a spooktacular twist for your child’s Halloween lunch?
- Wrap precooked hot dogs in thin strips of canned roll dough and bake until golden brown for yummy Mummy-Dogs. For a healthier twist, try turkey or tofu dogs!
- Slice veggie dogs, put in a mini-pita pocket with colorful matchstick veggies and add sweet and sour or BBQ sauce for a delicious Halloweenies sandwich!
- Whip up devilishly delicious deviled eggs. Top with a round slice of black olive. Serve two egg halves side-by-side for protein-packed Witch Eyes.
Routines, Rituals, and
Transitions by Scott Noyes
Saturday, 10/5 10-12
Call to reserve your space!
October 7 & 8
Bring your smile to school!
Every Wednesday in October
Sign-up in the front office
Eat and enjoy!
Pirate Theme Day
Thursday, October 17
Pirate activities all day!
Trunk or Treating
Thursday, October 24
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12 Tsienneto Road
Derry, NH 03038
The Goddard Schools are operated by independent franchisees under a license agreement with Goddard Systems, Inc. Programs and ages may vary. Goddard Systems, Inc. 2012
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