Halloween is a time to have fun, dress up in costumes, be with friends, and best of all, collect as much candy as humanly possible. It is also a time to face our fears as we walk in the dark, see scary costumes, fake spiders, and other images that may haunt the mind. Especially the young minds of children.
As parents, caregivers, and educators, we can turn this spooky holiday into a spectacular one by teaching our children how to face their fears with a brave heart so that they may celebrate courage with their friends this Halloween and for themselves always.
Below are some creative ideas that we can use to teach this important life lesson.
Positive affirmations help build inner confidence, belief in oneself and healthy self - esteem. We all develop belief systems about ourselves from our immediate environment and the world around us. Teaching positive affirmations is a powerful way to grow happier minds, happier children, and serve as a great tool to overcome fear. It is important for children to know that all the love and light they need is already inside of them. It is our duty to teach them how to call on these internal gems.
"I AM BRAVE" "I AM BRIGHT" "I SHINE MY LIGHT" "MY HEART IS BRAVE" "I AM HAPPY"
"I AM STRONG" "I TRUST MYSELF" "I AM SAFE" "I AM LOVED" "I KNOW I CAN"
On a physiological level, breathing exercises are key in maintaining a calm mind and body. Explain the scientific benefits of breathing exercises to your age appropriate children and follow these fun, Halloween inspired breathing exercises to instill bravery into your child's heart.
Great Big Pumpkin OM Breath: Sit in criss - cross (easy pose), breathe in and reach arms up overhead, breathe out with the sound of OMMMM and place hands together on top of head to make the shape of a pumpkin stem. Repeat fast and/ or slow 5 - 10 x's.
Friendly Ghost Breath: Stand tall (mountain pose), breathe in and raise arms up, breathe out with the sound of an OOOOO while floating arms down slowly in a wave like motion. Repeat 5 - 10 x's. Tell the children they can use this breath to make friends with everything around them.
Make a friendly ghost and turn it into a breathing buddy.
Supplies: tissue paper or regular tissue, string, cotton balls, 1 black marker, and a pair of scissors.
Instructions: place 3 cotton balls in the center of 2 pieces of tissue paper or 2 regular tissues, close the paper over the tissues and gather tight around the cotton balls. Cut a string and tie around the neck of the ghost. Draw 2 dots for the eyes.
Use as a breathing buddy: lie down on your back with your child next to you and place your breathing buddies on your bellies. Watch it as it moves up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out. Friendly ghost breath is fun to do during this exercise as well.
Most importantly, talk to the children in your lives about their fears. Explain to them that a lot of people get scared of the dark, especially on Halloween night. Remind them that when it is dark outside, our eyes and our minds play tricks on us and we see things that we think are real, like fake, plastic spiders and friends dressed up as monsters.
Encourage them to use their Great Big Pumpkin OM Breath or Friendly Ghost Breath. Have them invite their friendly ghost breathing buddy along for trick or treating.
Tell them a story about a brave character or read them a book like Leo the Lovable Lion that speaks to living with a brave heart.
Ask questions like the one's below to create dialogue around facing fear with a brave heart:
Have you ever felt afraid to do something, but decided to do it anyway?
Are you sometimes afraid to listen to your heart and do what you truly know is the right thing for you to do even when friends are making different choices?
Share some of your fears with your children and tell them how you find the courage to face your fears with a brave heart.
BE BRAVE. BE COURAGEOUS. AND HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!