Last night as I was tucking Gavin in and he was finally drifting off to sleep coincidentally right at dusk, some yahoo neighbor of ours decided that lighting off fireworks was a grand idea. Immediately Gavin bolted out of bed with the fear of God instilled in him, “Mommy, what’s that? Is it thunder?”
Bedtime these days is hard enough with a toddler, only expletives can describe how annoyed I was. It’s one thing if we choose to attend a community firework event, but those people that think broadcasting them to the neighborhood is a good idea just isn’t when I’m trying to get my child to sleep.
Every time of year that fireworks seem to roll around for the 4th of July, there are probably many parents that cringe, especially when you have a toddler or young child who happens to be deathly afraid of them. Many children have issues with fireworks but children with Autism or sensory processing difficulties tend to have a lot of sensitivity when it comes to tolerating loud noises or unexpected events, and fireworks definitely fall right in this category. A lot of parents tell me horror stories about attending fireworks shows and vow never to return.
This year I learned about a really cool toy from Uncle Milton called the Fireworks Light Show in My Room. This toy looks like a handheld flashlight. By projecting it up on the ceiling and pulling the trigger, different types of fireworks will be displayed in conjunction with sounds. By rotating the red dial, the child can change what the fireworks look like. It’s recommended for kids ages 6 and up, and requires 3 “AA” batteries that are not included.
Many kids have issues with fireworks not because of the actual event, but because of the loud, unexpected, thunderous sounds that they can’t visually see or locate. I often equate it to what might happen if you are driving in a car and then hear an ambulance or siren moving in your direction, you panic for a few seconds, locate the source, then act accordingly. Kids don’t have the ability to find the source of the sound and though fireworks are visually beautiful, this noise results in panic then the kids usually cry or try to run and escape from the sound.
The reason why I think this toy is great, is mainly that it gives kids control over something that they normally don’t. This allows them to experiment with it and hopefully be able to desensitize themselves to the sounds and the experience, all in the comfort of their own home.
For those of you looking for other strategies to help your children have fun at the family fireworks events, bring a long a pair of noise canceling headphones to wear, find a vantage point in the distance away from the loud booms, sit in the car when viewing them if you can, or watch the first few minutes calling it a success and head home before the grand finale.
Will you be bringing your child to any 4th of July activities for kids? Do your kids have a fear of fireworks? What are your successful solutions?
Uncle Milton provided this toy free to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own.