This fourth of July, we hope you enjoy the warm weather, family cookouts and the fireworks too! Although there are many celebrations, it is important to remember the little ones. This can be a fun yet difficult time for families with young children with sensory processing difficulties and autism.
During this busy holiday weekend, children are exposed to many new situations that often are challenging for their bodies to deal with. Changes in routines, limited nap times, new people/faces moving quickly around them, sudden loud noises, long car rides, new smells, new tastes and foods, hot sun and heat, etc. The list goes on and on. With a little planning, you can easily set your child and family up for the best weekend of the year!
During the day: Provide rest or break periods in the shade. Keep your child well hydrated. Allow your child to move away from loud groups to a quieter area. Bring familiar toys, blankets or stuffed animals.
You know your child best. If your child craves massages or deep brushing, * remember to provide this prior to your child escalating to keep them calm and grounded. When applying sunscreen, massage the lotion in. Hugs and deep pressure can benefit your child.
The evening hours welcome in fireworks! By this time, children are over tired. The sudden unexpected noise of the fireworks is enough to startle a child of any age, particularly a younger child. This noise is followed by bright flashing lights and adults saying “oooh!!”. Young children do no understand what is happening and they can easily become upset.
With these quick tips, your child will have an easier day and enjoy the activities planned by your family. Prepare for your day, and have a wonderful Fourth of July!
- Watch videos and discuss fireworks the day before your event. There are apps available that have fireworks on them as well. Discuss how beautiful the colors are and engage your child making sounds “boom!”, “yay”, “oooh blue and red!”.
- Bring glow sticks. They are much cheaper and safer than sparklers. They also can be used to light up the pool water at night! This can help to distract your child.
- Provide a count down if possible.
- Sit down to watch the fireworks. Your child will feel more grounded in a quiet area to observe the night sky.
- You can hug your child with your arm or cover up with a blanket around you for security if they tolerate it.
- Ear phones, ear plugs are a great way to block or muffle loud noises.
- Play music on an ipod using ear phones.
- Sunglasses – to block the glare.
- Tents are a great option to be in a small enclosed area if it is not an option for your child to leave the area. Beach or play tents pop up quickly and are portable.
The Fourth of July is also a great time to build vocabulary and target language skills. Label objects found in the yard, discuss the colors red-white-blue. Compare colors found around you to practice grouping strategies (red tablecloth, red watermelon!). Enjoy your child and the day. Again, we hope this is the best weekend ever for your family!!
Happy Fourth of July!
-Core Communication Center