Halloween is full of fun and excitement for you and your little ones alike, but a late night of collecting goodies, running around with friends, and tons of sugar can lead to some troubles getting to sleep for even the best of sleepers.
So what can parents do to make sure that their little ghosts and ghouls get a good night’s rest?
It’s All About the Prep
The exciting sights and sounds of Halloween are new and invigorating for children, and can lead to them becoming overstimulated or overtired before bedtime – especially for the youngest trick-or-treaters.
In order to combat the chaos, your best bet is to try and avoid allowing your kids to become hyperactive in the first place. This might sound impossible, but with some preparation, you’ll find that it’s totally doable!
Consider arranging an “advanced showing” of your kiddos Halloween costumes for your closest neighbors. This will give them some early fun by being able to show their costumes off before it gets dark and help to cut down on the hustle and bustle of kids trying to dart out the door as soon as night falls.
Cut Back on the Sugar
Many parents are (rightfully) concerned about the amount of sugar that is consumed on Halloween night, as eating tons of sweets and treats has been shown to make sleep more difficult for all of us.
To help cut down on the amount of sugar that your children eat on Halloween, you can consider asking your neighbors to pass out a healthier snack or a small toy to your trick-or-treaters, which you would provide beforehand, of course! You might also want to make sure that you and your little ones sit down to enjoy an early family meal before heading out to take on all the excitement that Halloween has to offer – this will help your kids to feel full and not be as likely to imbibe in as many sugary delights.
Curb the Chaos
What about once you return home with bags loaded with goodies? When it comes to your children checking out their loot after trick-or-treating, you have a couple of choices:
- Go ahead and let them have what they want from their candy bags after you get home. Some parents have found that withholding Halloween treats from their kids only makes them want it more. If you go this route, you might want to try and encourage them to eat some of the less sugary snacks, such as pretzels or gum.
- Make an attempt to save the sweet treats to be spread out over the coming days, allowing them to have an agreed upon amount of candy on Halloween night.
If you do choose to prevent your child from eating most of their candy haul once you’ve returned home, make sure that you have some healthier snacks available to “trade in” for their sweets. They’ll most likely be hungry after trick-or-treating, and will be happy to make the trade for something a bit more filling and substantial than miniature chocolate bars.
Stick to Your Bedtime Routine
After you and your kiddos are done examining the spoils of a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating, go ahead and get them started on their regular bedtime routine. Dim all of the lights in the front of your home while they’re getting ready for bed, and consider hanging a note over your doorbell that says something like “Sleeping children, no more trick-or-treaters, please!” You can even place a “self-serve” bowl of candy on the porch so any kids that are out later than yours can still get their treat.
In the spirit of the holiday, you can even do your bedtime routine by flashlight, which would be fun and a little different for your children. Additionally, turning the overhead lights off in the house will encourage the release of melatonin in your children, which will help them feel sleepy.
If you want to make sure that your children get to bed on time while also adding a fun holiday-themed twist to their normal routine, you can suggest that they get ready for bed by flashlight to add a dash of Halloween to the end of the day. Not only will this be fun and different for the kids, keeping your house darker by not making use of the overhead lights will also encourage the release of melatonin, helping your kiddos to feel sleepy and drift off to Dream Land easier.