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Don’t panic—this could be a good thing.
Most growing children go through the same fundamental development stages. Benchmarks include holding their heads up on their own, walking, talking, and creeping everyone out by talking about all the ghosts they see.
If your toddler is telling you about the dead little boy who lives in the closet, the man with the snake neck , or the formerly scary lady named Sheila who occasionally snuggles with them in bed, you can, of course, ask the Internet for advice. These hauntings happen to practically every young family, and other parents will reassure you that they’re nothing to worry about.
Still, your kid may not be assuaged. When your toddler claims to see a ghost or similar apparition, follow these simple steps to deal with it:
1) Ask your toddler if she is lying. Most parents skip this step.
2) If she says “no” about being a liar, ask her if she is just “playing pretend.”
3) If she says “yes,” firmly explain that “playing pretend” is a euphemism for lying.
4) If your child is scared of the ghost, firmly explain that ghosts don’t exist. (Wink at the ghost just in case.)
5) If your child is adamant that there is indeed a ghost, confirm whether the ghost is telling your child to murder you in your sleep.
- If no, move on to number 6.
- If yes, explain to your child that you have an iPad and the ghost doesn’t. Who side should she really be on? That’s what I thought.
6) Ask if the ghost is also a child.
- If yes, ask what historical era it’s from to ascertain if the ghost child will teach your child any bad habits, like racism.
- If no, skip to number 8.
7) If the ghost child doesn’t display any racist behavior, tell them both to go play with the train table and stay out of your way for a while.
8) Ask if the ghost is an adult.
- If yes, ask if the ghost would be willing to babysit while you do a few household chores.
9) If the ghost is willing to babysit, request that it take your child to the park and then walk her home again. If that nosy neighbor calls the police to report a free-range child, turn the ghost on them.
10) Determine whether the ghost died in a horrible way.
- If yes, determine if they deserved it. If they did, the ghost is probably not a suitable playmate for your child.
- If they did not deserve it, firmly explain you don’t have the mental energy for that kind of baggage. Sorry about it.
11) If the bad ghost who deserved to die horribly communicates that playing with a child is the only way to get rid of its chains, ask for proof. (Pro tip: The eerie sound of rattling chains only proves the existence of chains, not that doing a good deed will free the specter from said chains.)
12) Have your child ask the ghost if it needs help “passing over to the other side.” If so, subtly hint that you have too much on your plate right now, but maybe if they could help with the dishes…
13) If the ghost cannot levitate objects enough to help with the housework, ask the ghost for suggestions of how they can help out. You are open to ideas. Example: Can they haunt that nosy neighbor that gives you the evil eye when you let your kid run around naked outside?
14) If the ghost is proving stubborn, have your child ask if this is a “get out of my house!” type haunting. If so, show the ghost your name on the deed or lease.
15) If you are at a complete standstill with the ghost about helping out around the house and/or babysitting your child due to:
- Inherent evil
- Confusion about whether or not they are actually dead
- House ownership dispute
- Sexism (i.e., male ghost not wanting to do “woman’s work”)
…then you have two options:
A) Move to a different house. More than likely the ghost will not follow you, especially the lazy ones.
B) Post about it on social media channels. People eat that shit up.
Hope that helps! Worst case scenario, you can always sell your life rights to the people who make those Paranormal Activity movies.
Photo via Klearchos Kapoustis/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)