People often ask me, “How do you stay sane with three small children at home and no car?” since we only have one vehicle which is mostly used to transport my husband to work and school. The answer is simple, “Keep everyone busy.”
How do I do this? I “steal moments” when I can. Meaning that every minute I have is kept busy, even when the kids are at rest or focused on one thing, I use every minute that they don’t need me, to do something else. Let me give you an example.
I had three different Birth-to-three Program providers ask me how I keep my bathrooms so clean with a five person household. I just laughed and said, “Steal a moment.”
I know we don’t get many as parents. So when I go to the bathroom, before I wash my hands, I spray and wipe the toilet and sink down. This way the bathroom “stays” clean because it is constantly being maintained and the kids are leaving me alone because they think mommy is still going potty. When the weekend comes, the only thing left to do is scrub the tub because the rest of the bathroom is clean.
For a Halloween treat, I recommend making “pudding dirt.” To make “dirt” mix one 4 serving size of chocolate pudding, with two cups of milk, a thawed 8 oz container of cool whip, a cup or two of crushed Oreo cookies and a small bag of gummy worms. Have your kids dig for worms in their pudding. Some may not eat the gummy worms, but it sure is fun to go digging for worms at your kitchen table. (Again I recommend using a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan to contain the mess.) For those of you that are on gluten free diets, I recommend using the “perfect peanut butter pudding recipe” from the book Recipes for Gluten-Free Kids: Fun Eats from Breakfast to Treats and crumbing a gluten-free cookie into the end of the recipe. If you are going to a party you can put the pudding treat in a plastic bucket with the shovel as a serving spoon. For an added “dirt” appearance, save a few crushed chocolate cookies to sprinkle on top of the pudding mixture.
*An alternative to the pudding or whipped cream is to put your child straight into the tub and let them “paint” your shower walls with shaving cream or bubbles. They can write their ABC’s or draw a picture or practice their shapes.
Sensory Issues and Costumes
There are a ton of options out there today as far as Halloween costumes go. However, I will caution you before you go and buy a pricey costume for your sensory sensitive child – BEWARE of scratchy, itchy materials! It does not matter how cute or how cool the costume is if they won’t wear it. So what to do? Pajamas. That’s right – pajamas! I have found in the past nothing is better than tag-less cotton pajamas that are character themed such as these Toy Story Cowgirl Jessie pajamas. Comfortable, affordable, can wear them again and again. The best part is that after trick-or-treating they are already for bed! Yay!
If you can’t find any affordable options then buy plain thermals in a couple sizes too big and buy an iron on design or fabric markers. When all else fails, if you live somewhere with cold weather than have the kids wear comfy clothes and put the costume on top of the comfy clothes. I can’t tell you how many times my children wanted to wear a costume that was itchy so I had them wear solid color leggings or sweatpants and long-sleeve T-shirt underneath. Warm, comfy and can sleep in the sweatpants and t-shirt.
My last suggestion would be to wear solid colors and dress it up with accessories. For instance, for a fireman, you can easily have your child wear black clothes with some yellow duct tape, a hose and fireman hat. I know that many craft stores have foam accessories that are not itchy like most of the fancy dress-up accessories found at specialty Halloween stores.
However, if you have time and have access to Avery products then I recommend buying some of Avery’s Iron-on Stretchable Transfer Paper. Then, visit http://www.Avery.com go to the “Projects & Ideas” tab then click on “Ideas for the Home.” Once you are on the “Ideas” page click on the “Holidays” link and scroll down the list of projects and ideas to the “Spine-chilling designs for totes and t-shirts” for a variety of images that you can easily print out and iron onto a shirt. If you don’t like the images that they have to offer, they explain how to change the image to make your own. Below is a link for step by step instructions as to how to use Avery’s Iron-on products. One of their options is a blood dripping image which I can see a teenager or young adult printing on a t-shirt to give a scary appearance without having to bother with applying or washing off fake red makeup to create a bloody image.
This article was featured in Issue 11- Deciding if Halloween is Right for Your Child?