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Unmask the parenting opportunities hiding in Halloween.
COURTESY JAVIER MOLINA ON UNSPLASH

By LOYLA LOUVIS
For Montclair Local

In “Mother Matters,” parenting and life coach Loyla Louvis, AACC, provides parenting tips.

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LOYLA LOUVIS

She is dedicated to eliminating frustration in the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each family. A mother of four children, she is experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring and teaching. Louvis runs Mothers in Training, LLC, and is a certified professional parenting consultant/coach. More info can be found at Mothersintraining.org.

Excitement builds as children everywhere get ready for Halloween adventures. This annual event initially started with the ancient Celtic people of Ireland who would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts and pay homage to the dead. 

Many years later, in an attempt to overshadow this practice, the Christian church proclaimed this same period as All (Hallow’d) Saint’s Day. The end result was a merging of two different agendas into a hybrid of All Hallows’ Eve with Samhain Festival undertones. 

For many today, the history of Halloween is of little concern. Most families will prefer to focus on the fun of dressing up in costumes and collecting candy and treats from neighbors, or at community gatherings.

Whether you plan to walk through the neighborhood ringing doorbells for “trick-or-treating” or gather for a harvest trunk-or-treat, this holiday offers a chance for Mom to teach her child valuable life skills.

With Halloween in view, let us explore the unique teaching opportunities masked behind costumes, candy and customs of this day:

Be aware of the surroundings. Walking around in a costume collecting candy may tempt a child to focus on fun without taking precautions. Now is a great time to remind a middle-schooler to always stay alert. A mom might say, “As you’re out having fun, make sure to trust your instincts. If anything seems unfamiliar, move quickly to a well-lit area and stay with your friends.” The life lesson is to always be aware of your surroundings.

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Always use good manners. The excitement of gathering treats while hiding behind a mask may tempt a child to overlook etiquette. Whether cloaked as a superhero or glammed up as a movie star, manners always matter. Mom might remind her child of proper etiquette by saying, “Be sure to say thank you and wait patiently when others are ahead of you.” The life lesson is that excellent manners should be in play at all times.

Be generous toward others. The fun continues as children return home to marvel over a stuffed bag of goodies. A little one may be tempted to hoard, not wanting to share. A comment such as, “Tommy, I bet you will have tons of fun trading candy and sharing with your friends!” is valuable. It establishes a mindset of generosity from the get-go and avoids selfishness from taking root. The life lesson is to consider others even as you think of yourself.

Practice good self-control. A massive array of treats at one’s fingertips is overstimulating. There may be a temptation to consume large fistfuls of candy in a single sitting. Mom can set expectations at the outset by saying, “Kyle, isn’t it fun to sort through all those goodies to find the perfect one to enjoy today?” Wording her message in this way, Mom creates a positive perspective on limits, rather than presenting limitations in a negative light. The life lesson is to practice self-restraint to avoid overindulgence.

A wise mother is always looking for new ways to teach life skills to her child. Halloween is the perfect time to reinforce the practice of safety, kindness, generosity, and self-control while having fun. Ghosts may roam the streets this Hallows’ Eve, but Mom has no fear.  She knows her child is enjoying the night’s tricks and treats with her excellent training.

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