Halloween in Bergen County means fun, candy, and pretending, but three, four, and five year olds do not have a true understanding of fantasy and reality. Children can express fear around this holiday to indicate that they need help with sorting things out. When children express fearfulness, a parent can help best by being sensitive and supportive.
Children’s emotional development can progress and regress at certain points. Kids may handle an emotion, such as fear, with some control one moment, and then the next day may exhibit no control over the same fear. One minute preschoolers may be thrilled with their choice of Halloween costume, and then the next minute they refuse to wear it.
Understand why your child is fearful. Fears might help him control a situation, or withdraw, and not participate. Any new experience can be frightening to a young child, even dressing up to collect candy.
Accept children’s fears. Do not overreact. A strong reaction could cause your child’s fears to increase. Be matter of fact: “Vampires are scary, so it’s ok to be afraid, but these are kids dressed up as vampires. They want to collect candy just like you do.”
The Mars & Venus Counseling Center is here to help. We are located in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey. NJ.
Contact us when you need us. We are here for you.