The management teams at our schools field parenting and child development questions each week from families and teachers. They provide answers that are grounded in knowledge of all aspects of early childhood education and answers that are realistic for today’s working family dynamic. Every once in a while we like to answer one of the questions here on the NGCC Blog.
We have been invited to a 4th of July/fireworks viewing party this weekend. We would love to go, but with two children under the age of 3, I am worried that the fireworks portion of the night might be too much for them, they are 6 months and 2.7 years. At what age do you recommend children go to a fireworks display?
Dear NGCC Family,
First of all, please take the opportunity to get out and enjoy a 4th of July celebration with friends! Both parents and children need relaxing socialization every once and awhile. Every child will have a different age when he/she is able to tolerate an event as stimulating as a fireworks display. As with all questions about your child the best thing to do is go with your parenting gut. With that being said, here are a few things to consider:
If you are most worried about the baby, don’t be. The noise of the fireworks won’t hurt the baby’s ears and usually babies are pretty tolerant of the loud noises as long as they are safe and cozy in mom or dad’s arms. It may be a good idea to minimize the noise levels by not being too close to where the fireworks are being set off.
The fireworks experience can be very stimulating and overwhelming for some children. If you think the loud noise will be a factor with your 2 year old consider investing in some noise cancelling headphones. The headphones could go a long way in reducing the stress for both you and your toddler and allow your toddler to enjoy the fireworks.
Because this is a new experience for your child make sure you are close by when the show starts – even if you feel confident that you child will not be scared, children consistently surprise us parents with their reactions. If possible, have your child sit in your lap or snuggled up close by. If he/she does start to get upset you will be right there to reassure them with a hug or some soothing words.
You can also distract your child if the loud noises and close proximity to so many people becomes overwhelming. Even though a fireworks display only lasts about 10-15 minutes (a relatively short time for us) it may test a toddler’s patience and tolerance, being able to distract your child mid-show may end up being a life-saver. If distractions are needed try, identifying the colors of the fireworks or a rating scale? (something as simple as a thumbs up or thumbs down) can often help distract the child enough that he/she is able to continue enjoying the show.
Don’t overdo it during the day. Fireworks usually start long after the typical 2 year old is in bed. If your 2 year old has had a busy day outside enjoying some fun in the sun on top of staying up hours later than usual he/she will be ripe for a mega melt down, and unfortunately the fireworks display might be the trigger. Give yourself and your child a break and take it easy during the day or carve out a significant naptime/downtime in the afternoon.
Don’t get to the fireworks/party too early. Two year olds are notorious for their impatience and will not be happy when they are told again and again that the fireworks will start soon!
And if you think that the fireworks may be too much for your children, get to the party early and leave before the fireworks start. You will still get the benefits of the party without the headache of upset children.
Last, but not least, be prepared to make a fast getaway. Sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out. If that ends up happening with your family you will be so happy that the car is loaded up and ready to go when it you have to quickly move on to Plan B.
In the end you can never go wrong if you trust your parenting instincts when making decisions for your children. Weigh all the factors and do what it is best for your family.
Have a happy 4th of July!!
The NGCC Management Teams