If there was ever a holiday tradition that seemed like it was designed by a committee of kids, it would definitely be Halloween trick-or-treating. Think about it:
“Okay, quiet down guys, let’s make sure we get this all down. First, we put on ridiculous costumes, then we grab our pillowcases, head out into the chilly October night, and demand candy from a whole neighborhood’s worth of begrudging adults! And then, after we’ve run our parents silly and made sure their legs are sore and their noses and fingers are sufficiently frozen, we’ll head back to the house, dump out our pillow’s worth of candy in the living room, and finally—after very serious trading of our spoils amongst friends and siblings—we chow down on all of our sugary treats.”
While it may seem like kids are running the show when it comes to Halloween, there is at least one aspect you can control that will benefit both you and your little one: a good bedtime. Now, we hear what you’re saying: How am I supposed to get the kids to bed at a decent time on a night practically dedicated to sugary treats?
Have no fear, perplexed parent—we’ve got the inside scoop on getting kids to sleep on Halloween night. All you’ve got to do is remember the 4 C’s:
Planning ahead for the night is key, and communicating this plan to your little ones is a great technique to make bedtime a bit less of a boogeyman. This way you can head off grumpy shouts of “Unfair!”, as well as make them feel involved. Let your kids know before going trick-or-treating what time you’ll be heading back home and what time you want them in bed by.
Of course, kids will be kids, and going to bed at a decent time won’t make them overjoyed, but including kids in the planning may make them just a bit more accepting of bedtime.
It’s the highlight of the night, as well as the quickest way to ensure a poor night of sleep for your kiddos: we could only be talking about eating sugary candy. As a parent, we’re sure you already know all about how sugar can cause kids (and adults) to wake up sporadically throughout the night. The best thing for your kids’ sleep is to be firmly and verbally against an all-out candy feast at the end of the night.
While it might sound like you’re just being a bummer, it doesn’t have to be a completely negative decree. You might consider implementing the candy into a reward system for chores or other positive behaviors, or putting the stash into a bowl and using it as a dessert treat your kiddos can look forward to.
While the end goal is a great bedtime, you should also keep in mind that it is Halloween, and your kid is of course looking to have a fun night. A smart way to keep bedtime from being such a struggle is to make a little bit of a concession. Whether that means letting your child stay up a few minutes to trade candy, or letting them have a little bit more time to play with a friend before they have to leave, a little something special will go a long way. If you can get in on the fun with your little one, even better!
Good advice for anyone getting ready for a good night’s sleep: take some time to unwind. This advice is especially useful on such an exciting and active night as Halloween when the last thing on your kid’s mind is relaxing. Setting a bedtime is all well and good, but equally important is making sure that when your kids are in bed, they’re actually sleeping.
When kids or adults go to bed without getting some time to unwind from the day, it’s sort of like driving at 60 mph and trying to come to a complete and immediate stop. No matter how hard you press on that brake, you’re going to be burning some rubber before you’re actually able to stop. In order to help your kids transition easily into sleep after an exciting night of trick-or-treating, plan a relaxing activity for right before bedtime like reading a story together or just simply talking with them about their highlights of the night.
Tips, tricks, and a treat (for you!)
With the right planning, Halloween night can go from being a late-night sugar spree to a fun adventure with a restful ending. After the kiddos are finally tucked in, don’t forget to treat yourself! Grab a hot mug of chamomile tea or lay back and listen to your favorite podcast. You’ve survived another year of trick-or-treating, and you can sleep easy knowing you’ll have some well-rested little ones in the morning.