When growing up, the fear of monsters crawling out from under the bed or a boogie monster coming out of the closet reigns high. This can happen year round for little ones, with the fear even higher around the Halloween season. Whether its ghosts, ghouls, and vampires or scary movies on television, you can’t help but hear the shrieks from your little ones. Or can you? With movies such as “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Monsters Inc.” featuring monsters befriending young children, and more and more costume retailers producing scary monster costumes for infants and toddlers, there are many ways to help lower the fear of monsters.
Creative play is one of the best and easiest ways to teach your little one that monsters aren’t real. This allows the parent to make up a scenario where either a monster is chasing your little gal or guy, or your little one pretends to be the monster attacking you. One of the most effective ways to do this is to dress up in costume, which gives your child a chance to learn that the monster really isn’t a scary creature, but rather you behind a mask. Another way to do this is to fake the monster sound effects together.
I know that when I was growing up, my dad would do that consistently with my brothers, and now that my brothers are young adults, they do that with our youngest cousins. It’s always a joy to see them get into the action with their smiles, laughs and little screams of excitement. Your little one may shriek, cry, run away or even be scared the first time, but if you’re dressed up in costume, you can easily take whatever mask you’re wearing and show them that it’s really you behind it.
Creative play may be one of the most effective ways to show that monsters aren’t real, but sometimes it can get to be too extreme, especially for those who really do not like monsters. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, I know that when I was growing up, monsters didn’t necessarily appeal to me. I didn’t enjoy the ickyness of them and especially not the scariness. I still, to this day, have a slight fear of horror films or thrillers that feature out-of-this-world monsters. However, one of the ways I became more “monster”-friendly as child was by coloring.
With a variety of monster coloring books from a variety of retailers, there is something for everyone. There are so many different coloring books featuring cute, funny and even educational pictures of monsters. This book is great because it can give your child a chance to be the creator of his or her own scary monster, hopefully taking the power away from the fear.
It’s at night when the fear of monsters comes into play. The lights are off, the house is eerily quiet and your child is in their room all alone. All of a sudden, you wake up to a shriek! You go to your child’s room to see what is wrong, and they say there was something scary lurking in the corner. You turn the nightstand light on and reveal to your child that there is nothing there and that it was just a shadow. Your child relaxes and you decide to tell him a bedtime story to make sure he’s sound asleep before you go back to your room.
Some of the best books to read at bedtime are the books by Mercer Mayer, the creator and author of the popular Little Critter Storybook collection. These books feature a little critter family and all their adventures. This is a great choice because it shows that monsters are friendly after all. These books can be found in public libraries or various bookstores. If your little one enjoys the Little Critter collection, check out the Little Critter official website for more fun activities and coloring pages!
If your child is rebellious when it comes to monsters and likes to do his own thing, the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” may just be for him. This movie, based on the popular children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak, is a great way to show how monsters can teach someone that being bad isn’t always the best thing to be. It is also a great way to show that monsters aren’t real.
Another movie that can change children’s opinions on monsters is “Monsters, Inc.” A Disney Pixar flick that I enjoyed when I was younger, this movie is about a little girl who outwits the monsters at the Monsters Inc. This film was critically acclaimed and an instant family favorite. “Monsters, Inc.” is definitely a movie that will have your child laughing instead of shrieking!
Last but not least, one way to help lower the fear of creepy critters is by dressing your child in a monster costume. Whether it’s dressing up as one of the monsters from “Monsters, Inc.” or as a scary, three-eyed creature, your child will quickly learn that monsters aren’t as scary as he originally thought they were. Finding a costume like this will also help the creative play attempts to take the scary out of monsters! Whatever your choice of costume, you’ll be sure your child will have a great time facing the dark side.
Kelsey Schultz is a staff writer for HalloweenCostumes.com, where you can buy cuddly monster costumes for kids.