Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween, using every teaching moment

Last night I spent the evening searching through patterns and material to make Halloween costumes.  My children are in their late teens and early to mid-twenties so why am I still spending time every October preparing.

Because…… Halloween has always been one of our favorite holidays. I have tried to use my children’s interest to dictate the direction of my energies. The only way to truly teach a child is when they are interested and focused on the subject.  Well Halloween is something my children have always loved.  So I used this interest to reinforce education and social connections.

How education You may ask.  When my children were very young they loved to play dress up.  We would continually accumulate outfits from friends, Salvation Army, and relatives. I also hit the stores after Halloween for great specials on dress ups. They had a complete wardrobe specifically for this purpose.  So when October came around they were very excited to dress up and choose a new character to impersonate.  They would always choose characters that they loved in the stories we read. This pretend play laid the foundation for creative writing in future years and helped my children to learn in a non-threatening way how to manage their world.  They would experiment through their pretend play how to conquer, nurture, fight, discuss and compromise. 

Social Connections are not only necessary but create some of the greatest joy in life.  We always had some type of fun activity during this season to invite many friends and neighbors with the purpose of helping our children understand the power of community. We always included special friends and family for dinner. We would sometimes have several families over and then some fun activities.  What happened as my children grew was that this tradition kept families and friends coming back even during the difficult teenage years. Even in their twenties my daughters still consider it an important day for family and friends to be together.

With the month beginning and much to prepare for over the next couple of months remember to enjoy your child’s excitement. Make your child the leader and follow the cues that will help them to have fun and learn much from this imagination packed holiday.  Make traditions that reflect your family and your values.

Barbara Leavitt, Help Me Grow Utah Program Manager

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