Purim is going to be in another three days but for the children it already started a long time ago! You can already feel the excitement of the upcoming days in the air. Yet for many children Purim is different. They react differently to the happiness and the emotions and they refuse to put on their costumes.
You'll be surprised to find that it's more common than you think. In psychology this is a well-known phenomenon called anxiety and there is no reason to deny it or to fight it. But why does it happen and what do you do with a child that actually refuses to get into a costume or partake in other festivities? Here's a few tips and things that you should know.
The possible reasons why a child would refuse to get dressed up:
Loss of identity: There are children that are afraid to lose their personality when they get dressed up even if for short-term. These children are very attached to the image of themselves thet they are familiar with. Therefore costumes threaten them and make them afraid. In extreme cases a child may believe that if he gets dressed up he will cease to be whom he is.
Losing what is familiar: On Purim everyone is wearing different and strange clothing and they behave differently. Certain children have a hard time dealing with this sudden change. They feel like the ground was pulled out from under their feet because they thrive on the routine that they recognize and it’s nowhere to be found. This causes them to feel very insecure and anxious. They simply oppose behaving the way everyone else does on this day because they’re not familiar with it.
Hypersensitivity: There are many children who refuse to put on costumes because their sense of touch is very sensitive. This means the cloth the costume is made of has a texture that is not comfortable against their skin. Another hypersensitivity is to noises and on Purim all the extra noise can be torturous for these children.
So how do you deal with this? Some answers:
First of all respect your child's desire. Don't force him to get dressed up. Understand his feelings and trying to minimize your pressure or your disappointment that he didn't get dressed up. Remember it's a time to be happy and not the opposite
Secondly, if he does want to get dressed up you may be able to give him some accessories; maybe a scepter, crown, hat or a cape. Even if he refuses to wear a costume he may be happy to wear an accessory or to hold a prop.
Thirdly you can get dressed up with the child to encourage him and get him into the Purim atmosphere.
Fourthly you could send your child to school or kindergarten with the costume in a bag. It’s possible that when the child sees everyone else dressed up he might want to join them wanting to do the same thing. He needn’t get dressed at home if it doesn’t work.
In General you should speak to your child about the changes that may come and prepare him for what to expect. This will decrease his discomfort with the changes happening all around him and help him enjoy his Purim.