Summer. Fourth of July. Independence Day. Cook outs, parades, flags, and fireworks. This is definitely a holiday to celebrate. As parents, we are so excited to share these moments with our children- and we should! However, it is very easy to forget to see these party traditions through the eyes of a small child. Bright lights, fire, and loud noises typically trigger a fight or flight responses in children (and pets-and some adults). While it is great to share these holiday rights-of-passage with our kids, there are a few things we can do to make the experience a little less frightening!
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Tips for making fireworks less scary for toddlers and young kids
- Talk about fireworks ahead of time- No one likes surprises in the form of loud BOOMS and explosions. Talk about what fireworks are and what they look like. Find a video of some fireworks. Read a book about fireworks. Explain that special people (such as firemen) learn how to use fireworks safely.
- Sit a good distance away from the ground show– Fireworks are extra scary when they are close. Kids can see the ground show when they are older. For younger children, the farther away the better until they are comfortable with the experience.
- Bring comforts– A comfy lawn blanket, a blanket if it gets chilly, maybe a comfy pillow. Does your child have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal? Bring anything (within reason) that they use as a comfort measure. A glowing stuffed animal or light up toy would be fun. You could also stop at Dollar Tree for some glowing necklaces, bracelets, etc. to get the kids excited and save a bunch of money since there is a huge mark-up on these items at the show.
- Earplugs/ear protectors -This may be your best friend at the fireworks. Even as an adult, I find some of the louder BOOMS to interfere with my enjoyment of the show. By minimizing the loud noises, your child may be able to enjoy the pretty lights in the sky. It is usually the noise that scares them- not the fireworks themselves. You can buy special noise reducing “earphones” or “earmuffs” for kids. They are used in loud situations (such as car races, concerts, sporting events). They come in different sizes to fit just about anyone. Here is a link: kids hearing protectors
- Have an escape plan– when your little one is overwhelmed and wants to leave, you want to get out of there quickly. Escape may not be easy through crowds of people. Try to pick a viewing location that allows for a quick exit if needed. Be aware of your surroundings and take a survey of your location to plan a quick getaway! And…
- Leave when your child needs to-If your child doesn’t like the fireworks after a few minutes, chances are that the experience is not going to grow on him tonight. Take your planned escape and get him to the car. When he is calm, you can talk about why he was scared and plan better for next time. It may just be that your child is not yet ready for the experience- and that happens at different times for each unique kid. Reassure him that everything is okay and you can try again another time of he wants to. There will always be another fireworks show.
I hope these few easy steps help your child enjoy the fireworks and share in this awesome holiday tradition! How do you help your child enjoy holiday fireworks?
Looking for a delicious and easy dessert to bring to your holiday party? How about chocolate chip cookie balls?
How about some fun outdoor games to play at your party? Old-school yard games
Be sure to share with someone you know who would benefit from making fireworks less scary!