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Fear-Fighting Playtime Exercises for Halloween

Fear-Fighting Playtime Exercises for Halloween

This Halloween-inspired article was written by Michele Kambolis, Vancouver mom and author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety.

Halloween is just around the corner! While we prepare for this spooky, fun, and festive season with our children, we must remember that Halloween is a time when common childhood fears are especially potent. 90% of children between the ages of two and fourteen have at least one specific fear, while 50% tell us worry keeps them up at night. For all children, learning to master fears is an important developmental task. Halloween is a great time to confront what they dread most, in a fun and playful way.

Halloween Fear-Fighting Ideas

The following practical playtime exercises are adapted from my new book, Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety. Enjoy them with your children to reduce your child’s fear and anxiety during Halloween.

1. Be Brain Scientistshalloween michele kambolis

Children love learning about their brain. They canbetter understand what’s happening when they experience anxiety, and see how anti-anxiety skillshelp their brain to manage powerful emotions.  By making a jello brain mold, your child will discover how his amygdala, hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex help him outsmart his fears.

What you’ll need:
Strawberry gelatin mix, evaporated milk, and a Halloween brain mold.

How it’s done:
Add 1 and 3/4 cups of boiling water to 2 strawberry gelatin mixes and stir until dissolved. Add one 5-ounce can of evaporated milk and 3/4 cup cold water; pour into a Halloween Brain Mold sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate for one hour or until gelatin is set but not firm.

2. Halloween Worry Wall

The Halloween Worry Wall helps your child use his or her imagination to externalize fears and worries, and replace them with positive thoughts.

What you’ll need:
Stacks of black and orange sticky notes, a white chalk pen, and a blank wall.

How it’s done:
Have your child write her worries on separate post-it notes, recording as many as she can using words or pictures. Explain that once the worries have been recorded, she won’t have to think about them anymore. Next, help her stick each note to a wall that can be torn down “brick by brick.”
 Finally, remind her that each worry needs a positive thought to replace it, and have her write down and display all of her hopes, dreams, and favorite memories on an Optimism Wall.

3. Fear Fighting Spray

This Halloween-inspired version of the Fear Fighting Spray can be sprayed under the bed, in the closet, or all around for a sense of inner control. As your child uses the spray to combat something scary or new,  she will gain the power to fight back thoughts that exacerbate anxiety.

What you’ll need:
Spray bottle, glycerin, essential oils, and dry glitter flecks.

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How it’s done:
Fill the spray bottle half-full with water, and add a few drops of glycerin and essential oils. Add the glitter and fill the bottle up with water. Shake.

4. Halloween Glitter Jars

Slow worry – and fear – thoughts to a pace that allows your child to “see” them with this playful mindfulness exercise.

What you’ll need:
Glass jar, water, glitter glue, and dry glitter flecks.

How it’s done:
Fill the glass jar with warm water, add a few squeezes of glitter glue, a dash of dry glitter, and shake. Have your child watch the glitter swirl inside the jar, encouraging her to visualize fearful thoughts swirling around her brain. Take deep breaths together, and as the glitter starts to settle, ask her to imagine her thoughts settling, too, gently clearing away scary images.

Find out more about Michele Kambolis and her new book by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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