Halloween is the perfect time for monsters, right? Not all of the time. Many children age 2-6 are very afraid of monsters and spooky creatures. Children this age don’t know reality from fiction. We tell them that something is not real they repeat it but see it on TV or in a movie, it looks real to them and so it is even though you just told them it is fake.
The perfect example is Spiderman. Children love Spiderman. He is a person who is bit by a spider (scary thought and can create fear of spiders) though he can do super cool things and helps people fight the bad guys!
Today at school we had a talk about Spiderman. The children said he wasn’t real, but in the next thought, said “maybe I can get bit and turn into Spiderman too”.
At this age children don’t understand what real and fantasy quite is. They are starting to but the lines blend together a blur a lot. They think cartoons are not real but a movie with real people they are. Over my 30 plus years of teaching I have talked to many children about this conundrum, and even though the characters have changed, the problem of real vs fake is still there.
Children of this age mind have not developed the capacity to completely understand this topic. Now, especially with the awesome computer graphics that have the capability of making everything look real, how does a child stand a chance of figuring it out?
As adults we need to just keep talking about the subject of real and fake or pretend. Reassuring the children that even though the character in the movie looked real and alive, it is not and it will not come and get them. Be patient with your child; learning this topic takes years of practice.
This extends to Halloween night. There are many scary costumes and exciting ones as well. Children who go trick or treating or just open the door to trick or treaters may be frightened or fooled into thinking the characters are real.
When visiting the costume store look at masks with your child, put one on; show them it is still you under that mask. This time of year can be scary or fun and sometimes a bit of both. Make sure to prepare your child for the night so they are not caught off guard.