How To Keep Fireworks From Ruining Your Child’s Sleep



fireworksManaging our children’s sleep during the holidays is a balancing act. We want them to enjoy as much special time as possible with family and friends, but if we bend the rules too much where sleep is concerned, the result may take all the fun out of the celebration.

The 4th of July can be especially tricky to navigate because of the fireworks. Talk about a sleep disruptor! Deciding whether small children should be included in that part of the festivities is tough. Do you take them to a public display and risk a major meltdown or forgo the fun, put them to bed, and pray that they sleep through the hubbub without being startled and scared out of their wits?

Whether you head out with the crowds or stay home, the following tips can help your kids stay happy and rested despite all the excitement.

If you’re taking your baby or toddler to a fireworks celebration:

1. Don’t skimp on naps.

It may be tempting to cut naps short or skip them altogether during a busy holiday weekend, but well-rested children are better equipped to handle a later bedtime and are less likely to meltdown when the excitement ramps up. Be sure that your child has an opportunity to nap at their regular times throughout the day, even if the naps take place on the go in a stroller or car. For babies and toddlers, an extra nap at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. can help them to make it through the evening without becoming too overtired and stressed.

2. Give your child a fair warning. 

Videos of fireworks won’t adequately prepare your child for the experience of a live fireworks display. Still, there are dozens of spectacular online videos of fireworks from around the world that can give them some idea about what they look like and how they sound. As you watch together, make a game out of ooohing and aaahing after each explosion or guessing which color will appear next. Familiarity and a sense of humor may help to minimize the scary factor when they see them in person or hear them from a distance in their bed.

3. Find an out-of-the-way spot to watch.

If you’re going to a local public fireworks display, you may be sitting on a beach or in a field with thousands of other people. Large crowds, super loud noises, and darkness can be overwhelming for some children, especially those sensitive to sound or light. Finding a less crowded vantage point to view the show can help your child feel more secure and relaxed. For an even more controlled environment, consider watching from inside your car. Your child may feel safer inside the family vehicle, and you’ll make a much quicker exit when it’s time to head home to bed.

 4. Be prepared.

Although most adults can handle the intensity of fireworks, children may quickly become overwhelmed. A pair of sunglasses, headphones, or earplugs can filter the sights and sounds enough to keep sensory overload at bay. If even muffled sounds are too much for your child, let them listen to their favorite music on your smartphone with earbuds while watching the fun. A favorite lovey may also help your child relax. Don’t forget to bring extra bottles, drinks, and snacks to keep their tummies full. A typical fireworks display may only last for 20 or 30 minutes, but finding your car, getting out of the parking lot, and fighting traffic on the way home can add an extra hour or two to your evening.

5. Dress your child for bed.

Dress your baby or toddler in their PJs before heading out to the festivities. It will save you from having to change them when you get home, and if they fall asleep in the car, it will make for a seamless transfer to their bed or crib.

6. Know when to call it quits.

If your child is completely overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and head home. Trying to settle an overtired, overwhelmed child in the middle of a fireworks display isn’t worth it. Your friends will understand, you’ll be relieved, and you can always try again next year.

If you’re staying home:

 1. Put your baby or toddler to bed before the fireworks begin.

Getting your child to bed at their regular bedtime is always the best way to ensure they’ll have a good night’s sleep. If they typically go to bed before dark, they should be in a deep sleep by the time the fireworks kick into high gear.

 2. Use white noise or music.

White noise machines, fans, air conditioners, and gentle music can be very effective at blocking out unwanted noise. Use them all at the same time if you have to! If your child doesn’t usually sleep with white noise or music, and you’re worried it will keep them awake, put them to bed first and turn up the volume once they’ve nodded off. Be sure to keep your ambient noise running throughout the entire night. If your neighborhood is like mine, there may still be stray bangs and pops until 1 or 2 a.m.

3. Offer comfort and reassurance.

If your child wakes up and is frightened or upset, don’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to help them get back to sleep. If they need extra cuddling and reassurance, offer it. Don’t worry about creating a new “sleep crutch” if you end up holding your child or staying in their room until they fall back to sleep, habits don’t form in a single night. If your child has a particularly difficult night, allow them to sleep for an extra 30 or 45 minutes in the morning and then get them up to start their day. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule will ensure that one late night doesn’t throw off their entire schedule moving forward.

Sweet dreams and Happy 4th!



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