As parents, we have fond memories of Halloween with our little kids in cute costumes, but as they grow up, older kids want to be more and more independent. This could be the year your elementary student confidently races ahead as they go from house to house. Unbeknownst to you, your middle schooler may be texting friends about a night of trick or treating on their own. Even though it’s exciting to watch our kids grow up, these transitions can feel a bit scary. This year #Take20withKids before they head out trick or treating to have important conversations about how to handle peer pressure, safety, and healthy choices.
#Take20withKids and Role Play How to Handle Peer Pressure
We never want our kids to be unprepared for what lies ahead, so take 20 minutes to have a conversation about how to handle negative peer pressure and say “NO” to potentially dangerous behaviors. Include role-playing scenarios, such as ways they’ll say no to underage drinking if offered a sip of alcohol.
#Take20withKids and Make a Plan to Stay in Touch
Let your kids know that you plan to take 20 seconds a few times during the evening to check in on them while they’re out trick or treating. Emphasize the importance of texting back right away or answering your call. Assist them in figuring out how to make their phone easily accessible in a pocket instead of at the bottom of their bag of candy. Setting up checkpoints or specific times to touch base helps keep lines of communication open and gives the night structure.
#Take20withKids and Discuss Expected Behavior
Being a good friend takes on a new meaning when out with peers on Halloween. Take 20 seconds to remind your child of the kind of behavior you expect when they’re trick or treating with friends. This includes:
- Crossing streets safely at corners
- Being respectful of property and landscaping
- Minding manners by waiting your turn at a crowded door and thanking homeowners for candy or treats
- Making sure all members of the group are together before moving on to the next house
- Keeping an eye on your phone and texting/calling back right away
Finally, as our kids grow up and are excited about their increased independence on Halloween, we may want to celebrate this transition by clinking covered mugs or bottles with fellow parents while strolling the neighborhood, but remember— our kids are always watching! Modeling responsibility is critical because you are the #1 influence on your kid’s decision to drink—or not to drink—alcohol.
Thanks for continuing to empower kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking, and we wish you and your family a safe and fun Halloween!
-The Ask, Listen, Learn team