Worried About How Much Sleep The Kids Will Get Halloween Night?
It’s the end of October: half of the leaves are already on the ground, and a chill is settling in for the long months to come. Along with it is the day that children and adults alike love to celebrate: Halloween! Thankfully, this year Halloween falls on a Saturday, so there is extra time to celebrate. You can stay a little later at parties or do an extra few houses trick or treating, and the kids don’t have school the next day. But after the candy is counted and organized, and the last spooky movie is watched, the inevitable bed-time battle will commence. You may have noticed in past years that it is even harder on Halloween to get the kids settled for bed than usual. For one, children may be a bit spooked from all of the stories, movies, scary-looking costumes and decorated homes they have come across. You may also blame sugar for their hyperactivity and difficulty calming down. Let’s address these two assumptions and discuss the best ways to get your kids ready for bed and sleeping well.
Myth Buster Alert – Sugar
Upon looking into the effects of sugar on children’s behaviour, and sugar associated with sleep in general, the surprising news is that studies have shown sugar doesn’t actually cause hyperactivity in children, and isn’t to blame for difficulties falling asleep. We do know of course that sugar has many real negative effects on the body, so it is still a good idea to ration how much you allow your child to have. However you can be rest assured that the candy they have in the evening alone isn’t going to disrupt their sleep. Rather, children are extra excited on occasions like Halloween or birthday parties and these are events where more sugary foods are eaten is a correlation, without causation. This association can cause parents more likely to seek out and notice disruptive behaviour, but it’s actually all of the fun and novelty that gets kids excited and amped up.
Block Out the Boogeyman
There is also a possibility that fear induced by all of the scary imagery and stories leading up to and on Halloween will make it harder for children, especially younger ones, to fall asleep. It’s important to monitor what types of movies and TV shows your kids are watching to avoid inappropriate and frightening material. Even if you do that there is still a lot of spookiness around this time that you can’t stop them from seeing, and it’s natural for kids to be afraid of sleeping alone. Some things that may help are extra time spent at bedtime comforting them, and getting their mind off of scary thoughts with a positive bedtime story you can read together. Having conversations about what is scaring your child and explaining why they shouldn’t be afraid helps teach them that their fears are not real. Your calmness and lack of fear will provide a model of confidence that you child will find comfort in. Whether it is too much excitement or fear keeping your kids awake, you can make sure they get to sleep at a decent time and get a good rest this Halloween by following the same advice we give to adults who have trouble sleeping. Try to stick to an established bedtime routine, even on special occasions. Incorporate calming rituals into this routine such as a bath and a happy bedtime story. Create a calming bedroom atmosphere free of technology and distractions, and most of all, be consistent. These healthy practices will help you and your kids have a great Halloween and a smooth bedtime.
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