Dr. Kat Lewitzke PsyD Oakland County 40 under 40

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Halloween and Your Child’s Mental Well-Being: Insights from Dr. Lewitzke, Clinic Director and Mom

Halloween is just around the corner, and as parents, we’re no strangers to the excitement that this holiday brings, from trunk or treats to Halloween school parties.

I’m Dr. Lewitzke, a clinic director, and a mother of a 3-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. As we lead up to Halloween, I wanted to share some insights on how to navigate this festive season, keeping in mind the potential impact of sugary treats and artificial food dyes, particularly for children with conditions like ADHD, autism, anxiety, or depression.

Nutrition Awareness: A Balancing Act

Being a mom, I understand the allure of Halloween candies and the joy it brings to our kids. It’s crucial for parents to be mindful of what their children consume during this time. This applies to all children, but especially for those facing specific challenges. Excessive sugar intake can lead to energy spikes and crashes, potentially worsening symptoms in children with ADHD or triggering anxiety in susceptible individuals. So, as you navigate the candy aisles with your children, remember that moderation is key. Encourage your child to enjoy the treats but set boundaries to prevent overindulgence.

Communication Strategies: Teach Moderation

Effective communication with your children about Halloween treats is essential. It’s something I experience firsthand as a parent. Emphasize the importance of moderation and setting boundaries. Teach them the value of enjoying the treats without going overboard. This approach can instill a healthy relationship with food from a young age and prevent sugar-induced meltdowns or anxiety.

Post-Halloween Support: Gradual Transition

Once Halloween is over, I, like many parents, understand the need to think about the days that follow. Abruptly eliminating all sweets can have a significant impact on your child’s behavior. Share strategies with your child and their caregivers for gradually reducing sugar and artificial dye consumption. Highlight the long-term benefits of maintaining a balanced diet for mental well-being.

Self-Care: Don’t Forget About Yourself

As parents, especially those of us juggling busy lives and little trick-or-treaters, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of Halloween preparations and ensuring our children have a fantastic time. But it’s crucial to remember to take care of your own mental and physical health during this potentially challenging period. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential to support your child effectively.

Knowledge Update: Stay Informed

Being informed is a powerful tool, and as a mom and a clinic director, I emphasize staying up to date on the latest research regarding nutrition and its impact on mental health. This knowledge empowers you to make informed choices for your child’s well-being.

Holistic Approach: Promote Healthy Living

Consider how you can incorporate discussions about nutrition and lifestyle into your family’s daily life. Are there specific tools or resources you can provide to promote a holistic approach to mental health for your child and your family? It’s something I actively explore in my role as a clinic director and as a parent.

By addressing these considerations, you can ensure that Halloween remains a fun and positive experience for your child, while also safeguarding their mental health and well-being. And remember, your well-being matters too!

As we approach Halloween, keep these strategies in mind to make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for your child. Here’s to a Happy Halloween and a balanced approach to the holiday season!


Dr. Kat Lewitzke, PsyD LP

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