Friday, June 29, 2012

July 4th - Sensory Style

Have you started making your plans for July 4th? We have started and I'm really excited...this will be the first July 4th in all the years my husband and I have been together that we are at the same place on July 4th. Since having Ethan, it really didn't matter about seeing fireworks...he would never make it through a night of fireworks. Once we took him to a local baseball game where they would shoot off fireworks after every was too much. He was shaking like a leaf, nervous, anxious and just wanted to leave.

We have learned a few tricks along the way, and I thought I'd share in case someone else could benefit.

  • Bring headphones. They don't have to be plugged into anything, because the headphones themselves will block out the loudest noises. Plus, it might make the child feel more least, it does for my son.
  • Explain in detail what is going to happen, if possible. For example, if you know that there will be fireworks at a certain time, you can gently remind your child that fireworks are coming.
  • Allow your child to bring a comfort item from home...whether it's a blanket, a stuffed animal, or special book or toy, they can always provide comfort and make your child feel better.
  • Decide beforehand what your escape plan will be. Sometimes the situation can sink so quickly that it's best to just remove your child and yourself. Will mom or dad take them out? Will they wait somewhere for the rest of your group? Make sure your child understands that this is not a punishment, but for their benefit.
  • If you allow your child sparklers or other small fireworks, remember to watch them at all times. Sometimes, kids can be fearless, even with things that should be fire! 
  • If you are with a large group of people, with lots of sounds and smells, your child could easily get overwhelmed. It's important that you are aware (as much as possible) of how your child is feeling. Sometimes kids have a hard time realizing they are getting's not until after a meltdown that they recognize it. Therefore, it's up to us as parents to help our child what is too much for them. 
Hopefully, some of those tips could help you and your child as you start to make plans for the 4th. We are actually going to let Ethan spend the night with my mom and the hubs and I are taking the other 2 kids to a baseball game that has fireworks at the end.


  1. It must be very challenging to have a child who is sensitive like yours is. How lucky he is to have parents who care as much as you do! I remember when my son (now 20) was small and he couldn't stand the noise of the fireworks either... Have a great 4th of July.

  2. Good tips.

    My granddaughter LOVES fireworks (she's 2-1/2) and will be participating with her parents. But my grandson, 1-1/2, doesn't like them so much so he's spending the night with us. He'll have more fun with us and his parents will be able to concentrate on the one who LOVES fireworks. It's a win-win.

  3. Sorry - I missed the fact that your son has some other issues he's dealing with. However, I think those are great tips for any young children.

  4. Great tips. I wish I'd thought of the headphones when my kids were little. Now if only I could find some that would work for the dog. He's terrified of them!

    Stopping by from SITS. Have a great weekend and fourth of July celebration.

  5. Great tips! I hardly recall the first time my son saw fireworks. He's 13 now. I've been fortunate that he has embraced the same love of fireworks as I have with ease.

  6. Meredith... what a great post with wonderful tips. Although I do not have a child that has sensory issues, I think that some of these tips would work for me. ;) Some of those bangs do get awfully loud. Thank you and Happy 4th to you and yours!!

  7. Thanks for the tips! My daughter seems to be very brave at 1, and does not have sensory issues. That said, both my husband and I are sitting on the edge of our seats as we hear the fireworks start to go off already. Will they keep her up all week? If they do, I might have to try the headphones. Enjoy your 4th.

  8. My cousin has very sensitive ears that he even stays away from balloons. He's already 21 now, but he's still deathly afraid of anything that pops, crackles, and explodes.

    How I wish my aunt knew of stuff like these when we were kids. :)