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Your Toddler

Preparing For Your Toddler’s First Halloween

1:45

Remember your first Halloween? Most likely, you don’t. Like many kids, you were probably just a toddler when your parents dressed you in a costume and took you house to house in search of candy and other treats.

Now that you have a child of your own, preparing him or her for their first Halloween adventure can be a bit overwhelming.

Here are 7 tips to help ease parents and toddlers into the Halloween tradition:

1. Allow for plenty of prep time to help your child understand what Halloween is all about. Reading books and stories to your child about trick-or-treating—and Halloween in general—are great ways to help that discussion. You might even want to have your child practice in his or her costume before the big day. Toddlers need to know that Halloween is just for fun and the scary stuff is simply pretend. Some children may feel intimidated by costumes and crowds of people. If your little one doesn't want to partake in Halloween, then let that be okay. There is always next year, and 12 months can make a big difference!

2. Go out before it gets dark. If you’re planning on trick or treating in your neighborhood, try and time your outing before the sun goes down. This can help your child stay on his or her regular evening schedule. Toddlers need a consistent bedtime and starting early helps them keep that time in check. If your neighborhood tends to start Halloween festivities after dark, you might consider a center where activities are offered earlier in the day.

3. Watch out for tripping hazards. Toddlers aren’t quite in control of their walking abilities – even on a good day when nothing much is going on - walking can be a balancing act for tots. While you won't be able to prevent all of the tumbles, choosing a costume that is not too long or too bulky will help a great deal. Be sure to check the forecast before you go out and try to include layers if needed. Also remember to help your little one climb up and down any steps and porches.

4. Always have another costume on standby. Lots of toddlers are prone to toilet training accidents. If potty-training is still in its early stages, then there's a narrow window between "I have to go" and an accident. Keep that in mind when choosing a costume – the simpler, the better. There is also no harm in putting him or her in an easy-on, easy-off diaper. 

5. Know when to pack it in. You never know what you’re going to run into on Halloween. If a house or costume is too scary or he or she takes a tumble or maybe your toddler has had a rough day already, then you already know that a temper –tantrum could be right around the corner. Once your tot gets too tired or just can’t seem to cope any longer, it’s time to head home. But all is not lost! Once your little one is home and has recovered, you might want to see if he or she would prefer to help hand out candy to all the "big kids" for a little while. You know your child best and can read the signals he or she is sending. An hour or less of trick or treating may be plenty for a first time out.

6. Watch out for sugar overload. While Halloween and candy go hand in hand, make sure your little one doesn’t over do the sweets – besides all the common sense reasons children shouldn’t be eating too much candy - a sugar crash can make kids more susceptible to overwrought tantrums.

7. Keep an eye for any choking hazards. It's best to avoid eating while walking or running. Once your child is ready to enjoy treats at home, keep in mind that babies and toddlers should not have any hard candies, caramel apples, popcorn, gum, small candies (jelly beans, etc.), gummy candy, pumpkin seeds, or anything with whole nuts. Candy wrappers, stickers, small toys, or temporary tattoos can be a choking hazard, for tiny throats. As all parents know, babies and toddlers will put just about anything into their mouths!

Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. The holiday has been observed and celebrated since ancient times and has also become an American tradition; exciting children’s imaginations every October 31st.  If this is your little one’s first Halloween, be prepared, have fun and don’t forget to take lots of pictures to share with family and friends!

Story source: Dina DiMaggio, MD, FAAP, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Easing-Infants-Toddlers-into-Halloween-Fun.aspx

Your Child

Happy Halloween! Make it a Safe One.

1:45

It’s that time of year– goblins, ghouls, pirates and princesses will be making their way through neighborhoods with outstretched hands and shy giggles.  Yep, Halloween is here!

Along with the kid’s fun comes parental responsibility. While you can’t protect your little one from every danger, there are steps you can take to help make this holiday safer.

Preventing fires and burns.

•       Select flame retardant materials when buying or making costumes.

•       Choose battery-operated candles and lights instead of open-flame candles.

Make sure your child can see and be seen!

•       Trim costumes or clothing with reflective tape. Many costumes are dark in color and can’t easily be seen by car drivers.

•       Give your child a small flashlight or glow stick to carry with them if they are trick- or- treating after dusk.

The “Great Pumpkin” carving

Carving pumpkins is traditional in many families and while the results can be stunning, great care needs to be taken when children are involved. 

•       Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.

·      Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.

·      Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Make sure your child’s costume fits properly.

Store bought costumes rarely fit properly, so you may need to make some adjustments.

•       Adjust costumes to ensure a good fit. Long skirts or capes can drag on the ground and cause falls.

•       Secure hats, scarves and masks to ensure that your child can see everything that is going on around them. Also, check to see that nothing is keeping your child from breathing properly. Masks and some super-hero helmets can fir too tightly, making it hard to breathe.

•       Make sure that swords, canes or sticks are not sharp.

Never let your child wear colored contacts.

Colored contacts have become popular with some older children. Often the packets these contacts come in have advertising on the package claiming that, “One size fits all.” They don’t.  These lenses are illegal in some states, but can be found online. They may cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye infections. Avoid these at all costs.

Make your home a safe place for trick or treaters

•       To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.

•       Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.

•       Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.

•       Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

How old should children be before they can be unaccompanied by an adult? There is no correct answer to that question. An adult should always accompany young children. When your child is about ten, they may start asking to go with their friends. There are some questions to think about before you decide to let them.

•       What is your child’s maturity level? Do they normally act pretty responsible and make good choices?

•       Who are the friends they want to go with and what is their maturity level?

•       What area are they going to be trick-or-treating in?  Will it be local or in an area your child may not be familiar with?

•       What time to they plan to start and be back home? Give your child a definite time.

Whether your child is with you - or out with friends - make sure someone has a charged cell phone with them.  You want be prepared in case of an emergency.

Halloween has changed over the years and lots of parents now take their children to specific places that host Halloween parties and activities, but whether it’s in a controlled environment or out on the streets, it’s still smart to keep safety first.

Sources: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx

 Dr. Karen Sherman, http://www.hitchedmag.com/article.php?id=365

Image: http://halloweenpictures2015z.org/halloween-image.html

 

Your Child

Tips for Handling Halloween Candy Overload

1:45

How to handle the candy bounty from an evening of trick or treating can prove to be a little “tricky” for health conscious parents.

Should you put limits on how much candy you allow your child to eat or let them eat all they want? There isn’t a one-size fits all answer to this question. A lot depends on how well you know your child’s personality and tendencies as well as their general health.

If your little one typically limits his or her eating – say a piece or two of candy when they have more to choose from- then you might be able to trust them to do the same after trick or treating. If your child tends to overdo sweets in general, they might have trouble controlling their candy intake.

To help parents find a way to keep their children happy, but also make healthy choices this Halloween, dietitian Nasrin Sinichi, MS, RD/LD, offers these tips. 

Start by serving a nourishing meal before they leave the house so they're not hungry when the candy starts coming in.

Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason.

Have a plan before they head out for the festivities. Talk with your child about how the candy will be stored and dealt out. Involving them in the decision-making may help them keep on track.

Encourage your kids to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten and to stop before they feel full or sick.

If you’re child is overweight and you’ve been working together to help them reach a healthier weight, a boatload of candy can present a problem. You might consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money. They still get to enjoy Halloween with their friends, have a few pieces of candy and learn about making different choices.

Another alternative is trading in their candy for something else they want. A video game, book, toy or trip to an entertainment area may appeal to them more than the candy. Again, they still get to choose a few favorite pieces of candy, but the rest is out of the house.

If you choose to limit your child’s candy intake over days or weeks, know how much has been collected and store it somewhere other than his or her room. It’s just too tempting!

Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys. 

Check your child’s candy before it’s given out. Throw it away immediately if you find:

·      An unusual appearance or discoloration

·      Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers 

·      Spoiled or unwrapped items

·      Any piece that looks like it could be a drug disguised as candy.

Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.

When in doubt, throw it out.

Some children have health issues that candy can make worse. Children with diabetes, for instance, may have to follow strict guidelines as to how much candy they can have, if any. If your child has a health condition that could be exacerbated by a spike in blood sugar, definitely talk to your doctor for guidance on how to handle Halloween treats.

And finally, don’t forget to set a good example! Kids aren’t the only ones enticed by candy. Setting limits on how much candy your child gets, then dipping into the candy bag more often than not makes for “do as I say, not as I do” confusion.

The keys to not letting a candy bounty get out of control are moderation, healthy choices, limits and common sense. Celebrating the tradition of Halloween can still be great fun without a candy hangover. Happy Halloween to everyone!

Story source: http://www.hillcrestsouth.com/news/parents-tips-managing-halloween-candy-overload

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