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Tips & Tricks For Parents

Halloween-Related Tips for Children With Cochlear Implants

It’s almost Halloween, and if you have a child with a cochlear implant who wants to dress up and go trick-or-treating, here are some tips for how to use Halloween to improve their hearing, listening, and communication skills.

Halloween and cochlear implants

Start Planning Early

Just like at school, talking to your child with cochlear implants in advance about Halloween will help them build an understanding of what this holiday is about. That way, they’ll be able to talk with their teachers and friends about Halloween with confidence.

Halloween-Specific Vocabulary

Like many holidays, Halloween has its own specific vocabulary. While your child might have heard some of these words before, there are also some words that might be completely new.

By introducing these to your child, you can help build their knowledge of Halloween, as well as their vocabulary.

  • Read books about Halloween. Focus on words specific to the holiday, like “trick-or-treat,” “pumpkin,” “ghost,” “witch,” and “bat.”
  • Make Halloween crafts to use as decorations in and around your house, and talk with your child about what you’re making, like “masks,” “spider webs,” “skeletons,” and “costumes.”
  • Don’t just say the word and then move on. Expand on the names by using lots of descriptive words to engage your child more and improve vocabulary. Call it a “scary” mask, a “haunted” house, the “wicked” witch, or the “hairy” spider.

Everyday Vocabulary

In addition to Halloween-specific words, there are lots of words you can teach your child to use throughout the year.

  • Colors: Halloween is full of colors, and pointing out the “orange” pumpkin, the “white” skeleton, or the “black” witch’s hat is a practical way to help build your child’s knowledge of colors.
  • Textures: The “furry” spider, the “sticky” spider web, and the “shiny” pumpkin skin are all examples of different textures that you can emphasize while making decorations or costumes.

Sequences and Time

Lots of Halloween events happen in a fixed order, so they can be a great way to teach your child concepts related to sequences and time.

  • Use phrases like “first we will” and “then this will happen” to show that separate events are related. When you’re explaining what will happen during trick-or-treating, you can tell your child, “First we’ll knock on the door, and then when the door opens, we’ll say ‘trick-or-treat!’”
  • You can also explain events that happen over an extended period of time, especially in the weeks leading up to Halloween. So when you’re preparing your costumes, you could say, “This week we’ll get our costumes ready, and then next week we’ll carve pumpkins so they look good on Halloween.”
  • Take pictures as you prepare for and celebrate Halloween. You can then use these as a sort of memory game. Lay them all out on a table and make a game out of putting them in the order in which they happened. Then put the photos in an experience book your child can share with others, including their therapist. This is an excellent way to review the new words they have learned.

Memory and Math Skills

That’s just one way to build memory skills, and here are a few more:

  • If you’re making your own costume or mask, talk your child through all the supplies you’ll need: “We’ll need paper, crayons, scissors, and glue.” Then have your child repeat the items back to you to see whether they’ve understood and remembered everything. You can also make a game out of finding all the supplies in the house.
  • Incorporating math into these exercises is also easy to do. Ask your child questions like “We’ve already made two masks, but three of your friends will come over later. How many more masks do we need?”
  • And as you’re making decorations, you could ask questions like “How many legs does the spider need” or “How many wings does a bat have?”

Social Skills

Since trick-or-treating is all about going out into public and interacting with people, it can be a great way for your child to develop their social skills.

  • Remind your child to say “thank you!” every time someone gives them a treat.
  • If they’re going out with a group of children, emphasize the importance of taking turns and being nice to other children.
  • You can also explain to your child the cultural aspects or significance of holidays in general. Depending on where you live, Halloween may either be a lighthearted night of collecting candy or a very important night on which to remember your ancestors.

Safety

Going out in public is also a way to learn about safety and what to do—or not to do—to avoid danger.

  • Remind your child to always stay nearby and not run off from the group unexpectedly.
  • Demonstrate the importance of staying with an adult while crossing the road, as well as looking both ways before crossing the street.
  • Remind your child about stranger danger and the importance of not talking to people they don’t know or being lured with candy into an unfamiliar house.
  • If there are pets around, remind your child to always ask for permission before petting or going near the animal.

Be Prepared and Have Fun!

By preparing for Halloween, it should be easy for your child to enjoy the night.

  • Be sure to bring along extra batteries or other spare parts for your child’s audio processor.
  • If another adult will be accompanying a group of children including your child, make sure they know how to help change the batteries in your child’s audio processor.
  • Take lots of photos to help you talk to your child later about how they spent the holiday.

You can use many of these tips to prepare for other holidays or events in general. And if you’d like to learn even more, just check out our blog post about how you can help your child enjoy new events.

References

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© MED-EL Medical Electronics. All rights reserved. The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution suits your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications are approved in all countries.

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