Given some of the things children see on television and video games these days it’s easy to assume they’d be perfectly fine touring a haunted house. But TV and video games are different – your child can turn them off. Not so when you’re touring a haunted house. So how do you know if your child is ready for all the thrills and chills Thrillvania Haunted House in Dallas has to offer?
Age Matters – Your six-year-old child may seem mature for her age but don’t let that fool you. At six, she may already be telling you she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus but if you tell her he just came in the back door and he’s waiting for her in the kitchen she’ll happily skip right in there fully expecting to see the jolly old elf. Six-year-olds don’t yet have the mental ability to completely separate fantasy from fiction. This doesn’t mean you should leave your 6-year-old at home, it’s just one of the things you should consider.
Sibling Influence – How much is your younger child influenced by her older brothers or sisters? On the one hand, if all the kids are going they’ll probably be able to keep the little ones entertained and distracted when necessary so it doesn’t seem so scary. On the other hand, if the older kids like to stir the caldron, so to speak, then your little one may be in for a truly terrifying experience. And on the third hand (because everyone has one, right?) your youngster may just be putting on a false act of bravado because she wants to keep up with the big kids. Are you sure she’s ready?
Experience Counts, Too – What has your little one already been exposed to and what were the effects? Some 7-year-olds can sit through a Freddy Krueger marathon without batting an eye and some have nightmares for a week when they get their first glimpse of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Remember, the younger the child the more difficulty she’s going to have understanding that this is all make-believe. Here are some tips to help you on your first visit to a haunted house:
Go early. This helps in several ways. First, you’ll avoid the long lines that develop later in the evening. Second, you’ll avoid the crowds which can be scary themselves. You’ll be able to give your youngster more of your personal attention without being jostled along by all those warm bodies.
Keep it light. Stop for ice cream first and make it a fun, light-hearted outing. On the way home, play their favorite music in the car, have a thermos of hot chocolate ready and maybe their favorite snack. Time and/or money permitting, stop off for a slice of pizza or a burger somewhere fun and well-lit.
Prep them before you go. If your child has no experience whatsoever with monsters then maybe you should wait a while longer. If this is your first family trip to a haunted house though it helps to let junior know what to expect. Don’t worry about spoiling the surprise at this point. Let her know that all those monsters are just actors dressed up in Halloween costumes and nobody is going to actually touch her. If possible, have mom or dad take the tour beforehand so you can tell the child exactly what to expect.