Putting kids to bed on October 31 is always the scariest part of Halloween.
Their bodies are jacked up on sugar and adrenaline while their mind thinks about all the candy they’ve collected and how damn scared they were to knock on every door.
Attending a Catholic elementary school had some advantages – not many but a few – and one perk involved the day after Halloween.
Every year, the school closes the day after Halloween in observance of All Saints Day. All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation. Attendance at mass is mandatory, but I’d gladly trade one hour of services to avoid 8 hours in a classroom.
So while my public school friends were hitting the sack early to prepare for school the next – and possibly an afterlife of rotting in hell – I stayed up later, ate more candy and watched awful TV.
My kids go to public school and have an 8:30 curfew. They usually don’t return home from trick-or-treating until 7:30ish. This makes putting both to bed slightly tricky.
It’s a goddamn nightmare.
One I’ll get to avoid this year as a single dad since they’re not with sleeping over that night.
Carolina Romanyuk is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant and expert on helping families with sleep issues. Carolina has some advice on calming down excited, anxious and candy-crazed, sugar-rush trick-or-treaters after one of the most exciting nights in their calendar year.
Here are her six tips to help get the kids into bed and out cold on Halloween night so you can steal all their best candy or accidentally dump some into the trash.
Tips For Putting Kids To Bed On Halloween
Factor In Unwind Time
After a long evening of fun and candy eating kids are wired. Their cortisol levels are up sky high requiring outside factors to help their body start the wind-down process for sleep.
Instead of crashing in front of the TV, one thing they can do is wind down by listening to sleep stories. Moshi Twilight for kids is highly beneficial.
If a child is amped up after watching a scary part of a movie, tell them to just imagine that when the scene is done, the Director says “CUT!” and the goblins, witches, or whomever all stroll to the snack bar and start chatting and eating chips.
It lets them know that it is all make-believe and is all done for fun. You can even use YouTube to show the child what the backstage of the movie set looks like with those actors and characters.
Turn Fear Into Funny
“Halloween is all in the head and plays with emotions,” explains Carolina. “The adrenaline rush of the fear is what people gravitate to. For kids, especially sensitive ones, what can work well is to have them recreate a scary image into a funny one.”
She suggests visualization exercises to take the scary things kids saw that night and turn them into funny and non-threatening situations. “They can visualize a scary monster dressed in maybe a hot pink tutu, a glittery bow, and bright pink nails who now dances lightly all around.”
Don’t Skip Right To Lights Out
Parents are ridiculous in our expectations at bedtime. I’m just as guilty in this regard.
How many adults finish their before bed routine, kill the lights, jump into bed and shut our eyes? None. We take things slow.
So why do we expect kids to pass out faster than the lights go out? Kids need to ease into sleep.
Dim the lights in their bedroom and most places around the house. Dimming the lights helps produce more melatonin and helps kids, and adults, fall asleep faster.
Put On Background Sounds
“Using your sense of hearing on soothing sounds connects your body and mind to start to wind down.”
Wind down the body with a story in the background. Either read to your child or put on a kid’s book in the background while they’re going through the before-bed routine.
if your mouth is too stuffed with mini-Kit Kats to read to your children, Audible has an extensive list of kid’s books perfect for before bed unwinding.
Recap The Night
Carolina stresses the importance of recapping the event of the night with young kids before bedtime. “Talk about the experience when bedtime is approaching,” she offers. This includes the best moments, the scariest events, and reminding them that everything they saw wasn’t real.
Make The Next Night Count Too
Putting kids to bed on Halloween is a task and usually never occurs at the typical bedtime. Make up for it the following night.
“Plan for an early bedtime the next day,” Carolina explains.
Especially because even though the lights are out in the kid’s room, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re asleep.
Hopefully these tips for putting kids to bed on Halloween help. I’ve already incorporated the “make scary things seem funny” tip with The Kid.
Consult Carolina’s official website for more kid’s sleep strategies for putting kids to bed on Halloween or any other night of the year.
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