Let the sparks fly!
Summer days involve delicious cookouts, long days at the pool, and enjoying the sunny weather. The nights are cool and clear. It’s the perfect time to with beautiful firework displays with the whole family….But you can’t think because your little one has just randomly lost their mind. Out of nowhere, your perfect child has developed a deep fear of fireworks.
So who’s ready for the Fourth of July!? I am!
Or atleast I was. (sigh)
Remembering the cardinal rule of parenting- your kids never do what you think they will- fireworks will inevitably turn into a complete nightmare atleast once during their childhood career.
Last year was perfect, but this year……. fireworks are the most ungodly monster known to children worldwide. Your little one will swear by it. And you never know when you child is going to have this terrifying revelation!
Better to be prepared because we all deserve to have a little fun, right moms and dads?
So let’s talk about how to reduce your childs fear of fireworks and return to joyful summer nights.
Creating better celebrations for a child who fears fireworks
Even if you do not plan to take part in activities with fireworks, it is still useful to consider as you may hear nearby events through out the month. In order to combat this very hectic form of stress, we will go over:
- Readiness and education
- Embracing silence
- Safety Nets
- Contagious calms
- Loud roars and other fun games
So let’s get to it…. We have some stuff to blow up– I mean some steam to blow off!
- Let’s learn about it! Anxiety occurs because of fear towards an anticipated problem, which can stem from uncertainty. One way to decrease distress about fireworks is to remove this doubt. Make time to learn all about fireworks before an event: the process of making them, the ways they work, and how different sorts will look and sound. You can use videos, pictures, and other forms of media in your conversations. Children are eager learners. By encouraging their wonders, you can put out your childs fear of fireworks by learning what to expect during a show.
- Embrace the Silence. Loud noises can be upsetting for children because they get startled, and the sounds can even be painful to the ears. The force of the firework, rather than the noise, can cause distress as well. Plan ahead by bringing the needed resources to create a comfy experience. Headphones or earplugs work to mute or reduce the volume of fireworks, and a child’s compression vest reduces the “booming” effect. Moving further away from the display can decrease the sound and force, too!
- Bring a Safety Net. The goal is to create an environment the child can feel safe and secure in. Bring along a favorite blanket or toy to help your little angel feel relaxed and at ease. Once comfortable, they can enjoy the rockin’ displays!
During the Show
- Calmness is contagious. It’s important to be mindful of how you display your emotions. Children model your reactions. Your response can heighten or worsen their sense of danger. Maintaining a steady and level composure helps reinforce a safe atmosphere allowing your child to self calm. Modeling language and breathing patterns also help children feel calm and relaxed.
- Give the loudest roar! Encourage your children to engage with the loud noises they hear, helping them to realize the sounds aren’t so scary after all. Playfully roaring back to the fireworks, like a courageous lion or fearless dinosaur, is a fun distraction to any nervous child.
- Hop around! Fireworks are fun and playful, so one way to encourage this is by creating a game to play along with the show! Jump with each new display, acting as if you and your little one are a firework. This engagement shows that these firework activities are silly and exciting – not scary and dangerous!
Every Spark is Different
Every child progresses differently, some may take longer than others to adjust with firework events. It’s important to work together, with your childs fear of fireworks, to acknowledge and validate the emotions they feel. By doing this, you help create a safe space and support network to allow for healthy emotional and mental development.
Sometimes, there are other factors at play in your child’s reactions. Such as :
These are a few examples that may be factoring into your childs distress. Loud noises or other forms of sensory stimulation can be entirely overwhelming for a child struggling. Although these types of reactions to stimulus will be very frequent, multiple times a day.
Seeking professional help can aid in the coping and healing process for concerns such as these.
For more tips on child care or other mental health trends please visit Wellness Today and join the community!
Happy 4th of July to you and your little ones!
Now that we have these tools in our arsenal, we are ready to go out and celebrate our Independence Day! So pack up the cooler and other tailgating must haves and have a safe, stress free holiday! You deserve it!
Carnegie Mellon University
Clinical Psychology and Gender Studies Research