Halloween on a school night? Advice from an educator
Top four practices for parents if October 31 falls on a school night
Heather Crump, United Way of the Plains Community Impact Manager for Education, shares her advice to help you and your child enjoy Halloween on a school night. Heather is a major advocate for education in south central Kansas and a former teacher. Get to know Heather.
As a child (and as an adult, if I am being honest) Halloween was one of my favorite times of the year. The excitement of getting to dress up, hang out with friends, and we cannot forget about the main event…CANDY! However, when Halloween falls on a school day it can make things a bit more challenging. As parents, we want our kids to have a great time but we also want to make sure they are ready to learn at school the days following. Here are some things to consider that might help your child be successful at school in the days that follow Halloween.
Set hard curfews.
With all the excitement, it can be difficult for children to calm down and get ready for bed. Setting hard curfews and trying to keep to the bedtime routine as close to normal as possible will be helpful. I have personally found that if I let my kids start trick-or-treating around 6:30 pm, by 8:30 they are tired and have enough candy to supply Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I make the 6:30 pm to 8:30pm schedule a routine for the night. To help with transitions, I also provide a count down while out collecting candy. I say things like “ One more hour” or “30 more minutes” so that when it is 8:30 pm they are not shocked and upset that the fun is over. If they complain about not having enough time, I encourage them to walk faster between houses and maximize their time out and about. I also try to keep the conversation light and fun; nobody wants to be around a fun killer on this epic night.
You store the candy.
If your children are anything like mine, candy is going to be made into a main course over the days following the trick-or-treating extravaganza. I have found that it helps me to store the candy and ration it out over the next few weeks. Plus, ‘mom tax’ is fully implemented this time of year, so I get to ration a few pieces for myself as well.
Don’t let kids bring candy to school.
This one is difficult because kids can be so convincing. “Just one piece in my lunch mom. Please?” The problem is, it’s never truly just one piece and it can become a distraction at school. Not only are there many different allergens that could be a problem, but I also cannot tell you how many upset kids I have had in my class over the years because they lost the candy they brought, or another student took it. It also can become a bartering situation where students are trying to trade candy, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in the end someone is always upset. Best practice would be to leave it at home, unless you are sending enough for your student’s entire class.
Keep your student home if they are feeling sick.
This is a tip that should be followed all year, however, as a former teacher, I can tell you having your child throw up at school after eating too much candy is an unpleasant experience for all involved. Not only are you going to be called to pick up your student if they get sick at school, but they are going to be embarrassed. Feeling sick at school also limits your child’s ability to focus and take in new information.
Hopefully some of these tips can work for you but every family and every situation is different. No one knows your children better than you and you have to do what works best for you. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
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