In the United States we really like to celebrate our independence with fireworks. This presents a bit of a challenge to parents of young children because:
- fireworks happen after bedtime and
- fireworks are loud and can be startling and
- fireworks are usually accompanied by huge crowds and
- the huge crowd is in the dark in an unfamiliar place but
- many kids love fireworks.
On Independence Day or New Years Eve, or any other celebration that may inspire fireworks, we must choose whether to stay home where our babies and small children can go to sleep before they become too upset, where they are less likely to be scared, and where we don’t have to worry about counting our children every ten minutes and coming home with the same number we left with . . . or taking them to the thrill and public spectacle of the fireworks!
If your kids are 4 or older, they may have their adorable little hearts set on going. If they have younger siblings, this may mean you’ll be taking a baby or toddler to the fireworks, too.
- If you have only one child, don’t make them stay if they don’t want to stay.
- Warn kids ahead of time that it will be SO LOUD. Maybe even louder than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
- Buy glowstick necklaces or bracelets for your kids to wear. They’ll love them, and they’ll be easier to keep track of.
- Before it is totally dark, and before the firework display starts, let them run around on the grass and play with other kids, if there is enough space for them to do so and you can keep your eyes on them. Realize that this whole event may super-energize your children and you want them to get it out while there is still daylight!
- Bring a wrap for your baby or toddler–it’s will give them a safe and secure place to watch from, and free your arms for any other kids who want to be held during the display. It will also allow baby or toddler to fall into an exhausted sleep on the undoubtedly long walk back to the car.
- Bring a blanket and pick a spot so you are ready to sit down and sit your children down to look up when the fireworks start. It is much easier to keep track of children who are sitting!
A note about courtesy:
Some people really don’t like fireworks. Some of them are children. Some are grown ups. Some are war veterans. Some are mothers of sleeping babies. If you want to practice good manners or just avoid having flaming poop hurled at you, skip setting off your own fireworks around homes that may not be interested in participating.
All of the photos here were submitted to me by babywearers on Facebook after the 2013 fireworks.