By Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs
It’s the week of jack-o-lanterns, costumes, candy, and scary fun. For those kids who participate in Halloween festivities, the excitement can be almost too much to bear this week. Every year, in these few days before the holiday, we notice a palpable escalation of the inability to manage that excitement. You may experience that your child is having a tough time this week. And they are.
The kids in my social group yesterday were over the top in their loudness, inability to listen to directions, and demonstrated exponentially increased behavior challenges over what I typically see. My staff and I pretty much (as we do every year) throw up our hands and remove our usual expectations, because at this juncture, the kids truly can’t meet them.
The kids knew that they were out of control. When I sat down to dismiss them and give them a Halloween treat, several of them felt that they weren’t going to get one because of the challenges we had during the entire group session. We went over some of the things that we knew went wrong. I explained to them that in this instance, I understood what was going on. My friendship (and their Halloween treat) was unconditional.
Most kids have a difficult time containing their excitement during this holiday. Kids who have social struggles and self-modulation challenges have an almost impossible time keeping it together this week. We, as adults, need to be unconditional and more patient during this week of tricks and treats.