How to Manage Your Child's Fears on Halloween
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Has your 10-year-old asked to trick-or-treat with friends with no parental supervision? What about your 12-year-old? How do you know the right time to allow this?
Thirteen years old is the youngest age at which I recommend allowing unsupervised trick or treating. Halloween can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Children traveling, even in a group, may not know how to negotiate drunk teens, running across the street safely in the dark, or unwelcome advances from homeowners or pets.
From 11-years old, allow a little independence by walking behind your group of kids to let them feel independent while still being there should they need you. Children under 11-years old should be fully supervised.
Your successful little trick-or-treater comes home with a huge pile of candy and begins digging in immediately.
“Stop! You can’t eat all that candy.”
“Why not?” responds your little angel. “It’s mine, and I want to eat it!”
What is the best way to manage a year’s supply of sweets and avoid weight gain, sugar overload, and a bad case of “it’s mine, I’ll do what I want!”?
• Sort through the bag, throwing out unwrapped pieces and any candy your child doesn’t like.
• Allow your child to eat several pieces of candy on Halloween night, then take the bag away.
• Allow one or two small pieces each day (maximum) in place of your child’s regular ‘junk food’ snack. Candy should not replace a healthy snack, but can be a small addition to it.
• After a few weeks, it is likely that the novelty will wear off and you will be able to gradually stop doling out Halloween candy as a snack.
• Resist the urge to use it (or any food) as a reward for good behavior.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at www.drsusanbartell.com.
Here at NYMetroParents, we've got everything you need to have a safe, fun, and festive fall and Halloween season. Whether it is pumpkin or apple picking, getting lost in a corn maze, making Halloween crafts or finding costumes and decorations, we're here to help.