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Ask. Don't Tell

With the holiday season quickly approaching I have found myself asking the kids in my life if they are “excited about Halloween”. I love the holidays and everything about them, but today it occurred to me that I was asking the wrong question.

Dressing up, going to parties, having everyone’s attention while I open presents, are all things that fit in with my extroverted personality. However, to a kiddo dealing with anxiety it can be terrifying and overwhelming. Of course young brains may not know exactly what they are feeling and more often than not the fears and confusion are going to manifest in negative behaviors and tantrums. Who needs a haunted house when you have screaming kids at home?

What’s happening you ask…..

They probably ARE excited about the presents and the candy, but the thought of going door to door saying trick or treat to strangers, having lots of friends and family around or even just the break in regular routine can bring up a lot of emotions that become confusing as they mix together.

So how do I avoid the chaos?

This year think about what it would be like for your kiddo if you asked how they are feeling instead of assuming for them. Use the Inside Out characters or even just various colored crayons and paper to allow them to express all of the emotions they might be feeling. You may be surprised the insight you discover.

***And remember not every ghost and goblin is able to say “trick or treat” for their candy and not every little elf wants a hug and kiss when they may not remember you. It doesn’t mean they don’t respect you or don’t want to spend time with you. It means they are growing into exactly the person they are meant to be. Respect their hearts and their boundaries, I promise it will be worth it.

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