You probably can FEEL the anticipation in your classroom. And if you’ve been to your neighborhood big box store lately, you know it’s coming.
Aisles of candy. Aisles of costumes…from the cute ones to the scary, gory ones. Aisles of decorations. Halloween is just around the corner.
As a trauma-informed teacher, you know holidays are times you need to be intentional. Halloween is one where you REALLY need to be intentional, especially with students who've been impacted by trauma.
The bottom line is trauma and Halloween do not go well together.
Children who’ve been impacted by trauma don’t manage anxiety well. They don’t manage transitions well. They don’t manage sensory stimuli very well.
Throw in Halloween and all the things that go along with that and you throw TRIGGERS into the mix. Frightening triggers.
How Triggers Affect a Child
Halloween can be FULL of triggers for kiddos who've been impacted by trauma.
Once in survival, they tend to go to FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE. And we all know, that is not a place we want to send our students. We want them to feel SAFE!
When they are in survival, there is no frontal cortex thinking going on. They are triggered. And any logical reasoning has gone out the window!
Triggers at Halloween for Kids Impacted by Trauma
For neurotypical students, they usually can determine the difference between and reality. Students who've been impacted by trauma, often are not able to do so.
What does that mean when it comes to Halloween?
It means that when the child sees a scary movie, sees a scary or gory costume, or hears scary sounds such as shrieks and scary music, they are not able to see it as reality. They sense fear and are triggered...sending them right into FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE.
While they may not show it on the outside, adrenaline has kicked in and they are now operating out of survival.
They no longer feel safe.
How to Celebrate Halloween Without Sending a Child to Survival
So...if your school celebrates Halloween, there are some things you can do to still make it fun, but ensure that ALL of your students continue to feel safe.
Classroom after classroom has students who've been impacted by trauma. As trauma informed teachers, we are all doing our best to find ways to create a space for our students to feel safe, to know they are loved, and where they can believe they are capable.
Finding a book that is an enjoyable read, yet packed with great ideas for trauma informed teachers is a WIN! That’s what we found in the book Kids These Days by Dr. Jody Carrington.
A Game Plan for Trauma Informed Teachers
Words from the author:
The kids are the least of our worries.
Seriously. If that sounds blasphemous in a book for concerned parents and educators (and anyone, really, who worries about "kids these days"), then I am so glad you're here. If you own a kid, work with a kid, or love a kid, you will find something inspiring in these pages. Dare I say game-changing.
These words were born from the hundreds of stories of kids, their families, and their support systems I was lucky to meet as I worked across Canada and the USA. Regardless of who I met or where I met them, the message was always the same: our kids are okay ONLY if those of us holding them are okay.
During the developmental years, schools-and educators-are the most significant connection point to most every child on this continent. But are the educators okay? I believe that most of the great educators want to make a difference. Many tell me, however, that they are finding it more and more difficult "these days" to love what they do. I think it's time we did a better job of looking after them. First. Plain and simple.
This book is for the educators: our teachers, bus drivers, administrators, educational assistants, librarians, administrative assistants, and custodians. And anyone who leads, loves, and supports them.
Book Discussion for Trauma Informed Teachers
We are SUPER EXCITED to announce that we will be going through the book together in our online book club in IMPACT. And even more exciting…Dr. Jody Carrington, the author, will be answering our questions in a video just for our group. How great is that?
Grab your copy here with our special aff link and join us in IMPACT today! www.tohavehope.com/impact
Get your questions ready for Dr. Carrington...it's going to be a GREAT discussion!