(WGHP) — We can’t help ourselves when it comes to scary movies.
Researchers say that humans are just naturally drawn to getting scared! It’s the perfect time of year for it, but exercise caution before you sit down to watch a scary movie with the kids.
Counselor Valerie Jones offered tips for how to respond to children’s fears when watching scary movies.
Picking a movie?
Start with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system. It’s the one we all know.
- G – General Audience
- PG – Parental Guidance
- PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned
- R – Restricted
- NC-17 – No one under 17, no matter what
Different movies are rated things for different reasons, so always do research on individual movies. An R rating doesn’t mean it automatically has gratuitous violence; Kill Bill and Bridesmaids are both rated R.
Observe your child’s response
How they respond both during and after the movie will guide you on your child’s individual threshold for scary movies. Everyone is different and some people just don’t like scary movies!
- What level of fear is your child experiencing? If it seems overwhelming to them, cut the movie off.
- Does your child seem to be having fun even if they are scared?
- How long did the effects last after viewing the movie?
- Does the child have reoccurring thoughts?
If a movie gives your child nightmares or lingering anxiety, it might need to be removed from the Halloween movie rotation.
Moderate the experience
- Don’t be afraid to cover your child’s eyes if you feel like something might be too violent or scary for them.
- Plenty of movies will use music or sound cues to build suspense — think “Jaws.” If the sounds seem to cause your kid additional fear, turn it down or briefly mute it and it can help relieve a little bit of the excess tension.
Grab the popcorn and fire up your favorite streaming site and enjoy Halloween the right way.