It's here already! Let the fireworks commence!
We're only just past Halloween and it's onward to the fireworks displays. Great fun if it's your thing, but that's not always the way for little people! I recall my eldest at 2.5 years old being utterly terrified of the bangs, and sitting in her room night after night as she tried to get to sleep through the deafening noises that seemed to be coming from just outside our window.
I LOVE fireworks nights with my children now, but boy oh boy did I curse the seemingly endless nights of celebration back then.
But this meant I had to get resourceful, and find that there ARE ways to enjoy fireworks, even with children who aren't a fan of the loud noises.
Top tips for enjoying fireworks with small children
First off I should say this isn't a safety blog...but clearly nothing could be more important. So if you need to read up on fireworks safety, just google it, there are loads of available resources.
This is about trying to create some magic and fun ...so how can you do this with a nervous child?
1) The first thing to do, with kids old enough to understand, might be to watch a simple video explaining how fireworks are made and what makes them go bang. One like this could help. Alternatively, for littler ones, you could search YouTube for Fireworks videos like this one, and prepare them in an exciting way for just what they will be seeing.
2) Next you might want to try dimming the senses a little! The lights are rarely an issue (unless there is a sensitivity to flashing lights that you're dealing with). It's the bangs that cause the fear. You can always invest in some noise reducing headphones (they're easy enough to find through a websearch) but if time or cost is an issue then any set of DVD player headphones, or even ear muffs supported by a bit of cotton wool in the ears, will do a lot to drown out the noise. You're not trying to cut out all sound, just reduce it a little to help them overcome their fears.
3) Another way to desensitise is to get children familiar with fireworks from afar. Try taking an early evening stroll in the pram just as the first fireworks go off, and your child will start to see the fireworks as pretty lights in the sky. That's actually a really useful way of describing them, I've found...as pretty lights, some of which have a noise attached.
4) If watching from afar works for you, then why not do just that? The beauty of fireworks is that you can see them from a distance, so try positioning yourselves nearby a local display and watch from where the noise is less overwhelming. Or, if your display allows car-parking, then why not watch from the warmth and comfort of your vehicle, and maybe play some music to drown out the bangs? You could even take a flask of hot chocolate along!
5) Get them into the ooohs and ahhhs! I found my children were helpfully distracted from the noise if they predicted the timing of lights and bangs with me and we oohed and ahhhed in time together. Or even predicted which ones will bang and which will crackle. It gives them another focus and helps them see the fireworks a different way. Letting them bring a torch along to the display is another fun distraction for them.
6) Ultimately, if the big public display is not for you, then why not just have some (safe) fun in your own garden with some sparklers and little fireworks. Tesco do a great range, have firework safety buying guides, and sales staff on hand to advise. But if all you are game for is some closely supervised sparklers, these are really economical and the children will love doing them. Add a few hotdogs, marshmallows and hot chocolate into the mix and they'll be in heaven!
7) Last but not least, remember to wrap them up REALLY warm. It's a long time standing waiting for a display, and it would be such a shame to go to all that effort and then have them crying with cold before you even get started!
So there's plenty to be thinking about...why not ask your little ones which of these ideas would make them most comfortable? Fireworks night doesn't have to just be for older children - all the family can enjoy it together, with a bit of planning!
Whatever you do, no matter how big or little you are, have fun!
*Remember to keep children safe and away from naked flames and fireworks at all times.
The Gotrovo Treasure Hunt blog is written by mums to share their experience of raising seven little children with other growing families. Gotrovo is an award-winning treasure-hunt game for use in the home, garden, schools and pre-schools. Children will be having so much fun they won't even notice they're learning!