Today is the day! Today is the day we celebrate our country with burgers on the grill, chips and ten bowls of dip, and the long awaited night full of fireworks! BUT, if you have a child like mine, who is sensitive to bright lights and noises, loud noises especially, I have a few tips to make tonight a little easier for your family! There is a lot of negatively going around on social media these days, and I am here to remind you all to HAVE FUN, be safe, enjoy, and remember the fraction of our population who are greatly affected by today’s fabulous celebration!
1. Don’t forget your “Stimulation Deactivators”.
Earphones, earplugs, sunglasses for fireworks and sparklers, blankets or sun tents to cover your child when they need to escape, favorite toys and lovies, and bean bag chairs to soothe.
2. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING AT THE DOOR.
Your child may scream for the first five minutes of the fireworks show but, remember: they hear things five times greater than you do, they are surrounded by hundreds of people, noises, smells, and sights they aren’t familiar with, and they CAN’T control the feelings that overwhelm them. Take a deep breath, rock them, cup their ears, and remind them that they are safe!
3. Make a plan.
Should your child not make it through the show, you need to have an escape plan yes, AN ESCAPE PLAN. A swift, easy, non-chaotic route out of that madhouse. When you arrive at your event, before you even EXIT your vehicle, scope the area and set a plan in place. Make sure to notify the other families you are with of your plan. You don’t even necessarily need to have a plan to leave the event but, a plan to get a little farther from the people and chaos to help your child calm down is a necessity.
4. Prep, prep, PREP.
Prep your child throughout the day for the event you’ll be attending. We don’t have plans to attend any events this year because really, most of the neighboring streets set off enough fireworks for three nights worth of a Disney celebration. But, it’s good to shut the lights off in a room and play a few videos for them. Start easy and work your way up to MAX volume to see how they react. Excite them, encourage them, and comfort them. Remind them throughout the day of what’s to come.
5. When choosing your spot at the event, keep your child AND other nearby families in mind.
Most families (those unfamiliar to you) will not be taking your child’s needs into mind. Not because they don’t care to but, because they DON’T KNOW to. They don’t know that your kid needs 10 feet of space to feel safe in a chaotic environment. They also don’t know that sitting next to your family of 4 who practically lives in a bubble 24/7, with their 6 kids in tow, carrying a packed cooler full of ice pops and candy snacks may seem fun and friendly but, it will likely just make your night a shit storm. So, remember to choose your “seats” wisely. May I suggest, the back row? Usually where the elders and similar families sit, to be the first ones to exit as the grand finale is lighting up the sky. Not that I don’t appreciate you offering my kid one of your lovely sugar filled, frozen treats but, just one might not cut it for this kid…especially when he sees you pull out a pack of 100 to tear his off and it’s just not worth the fight with everything else I’m trying to keep glued together for my other child to enjoy the foul smell of burnt eggs lingering after the bright booming in the sky.
Have fun families! Stay safe, celebrate it, and enjoy!