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7 Ways to Take the Fear Out of Fireworks for Kids

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 8:12 AM

Fireworks are quite the spectacle and draw large crowds to enjoy the show. But not everyone may feel comfortable. For kids, it can be sensory overload and the loud noises can confuse. To help children understand fireworks and take the fear out of the activity, Jennifer Schott, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, shares seven tips you can use to help kids cope with the stress:

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  1. Leave little ones at home. For children under five, fireworks can cause unnecessary stress. It may be best to stay home with them and watch a movie instead.
  2. Explain in detail beforehand. Just like adults, when kids know what they can expect, they are less anxious. Watch a couple videos online to follow patterns to help with understanding.
  3. Keep it anxious-free. If you are anxious of fireworks yourself, ask your spouse or another trusting adult to take your children. Calmness is contagious and if you’re anxious, they will be too.
  4. Have a back-up plan. Pick a spot near the exit so if the event doesn’t go as planned, then you and your children can pack up and leave quickly.
  5. Pick a family-friendly spot. Seeing other kids enjoying the show may help your child realize that there is no immediate danger and can be enjoyable.
  6. Bring back-up. Bring their favorite blanket or toy to help them adjust. Consider earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if the noise is upsetting but they want to watch the show.
  7. Don’t force it. Walk through the steps of what’s going on for the first few fireworks. If your children do not enjoy them, that’s okay. They may learn to love them later in life, and in the meantime, you can plan different activities as a family.

Being open, honest and flexible with your children will only help them prepare and adjust to the new experience.