7 Tips to Help Children Feel Calm During NYE Fireworks

Back to blogOne year ago by Jodie
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New Year’s Eve fireworks are a fun family outing but can be very difficult for children with sensory issues, anxiety, or difficulty coping with change. Of course there are the issues of unexpected, unpredictable really bright lights and really loud noises and strange chemical smells to deal with – but also the crowds, the traffic, the long waiting, the late night. Here are some tips that might help your family enjoy this night of nights

  1. Plan your location well: choose a secluded spot, or even a building where you can watch the lights behind glass, largely avoiding the sounds, smells and crowd.
  2. Prepare your child using words and visuals. Talk about what you are going to do, who will be there, what will happen. Look at photos and video clips, play with the “Fireworks Arcade” app (free). Remember to mention the bangs and the smells!
  3. Stay calm and confident yourself. Don’t over-reassure (that makes it obvious to your child you are worried!) or discuss your concerns in front of your child. On the night, if you start to feel anxious, take a few slow, deep breathes and smile. Children look to adults to see if something is safe or scary, so send out calm, confident vibes.
  4. Bring items that might help: things to do while waiting, ear plugs or noise-cancelling earphones, maybe a comforter or special toy, glow sticks, or a special snack to produce just before the fireworks start. Consider bringing a towel or rug that your child can hide under if it all gets too much.
  5. Give your child something to do: Can they take photos of fireworks? Count how many red fireworks? Decide which ones they like the most? Give them names?
  6. Plan your retreat. Choose your location and transport well so you can escape if necessary, and can avoid a long, slow trip home with an overwrought child.
  7. If it’s REALLY not going to work, how about a special night at home or with friends, watching the fireworks on TV, complete with special snacks, glow sticks and craft activities? Maybe next year they will cope with the real thing.

Good luck, have fun, and Happy New Year to all.

Psychologist Susan Knight works as part of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s multi-disciplinary team to develop strategies and interventions for individuals and families that aim to enhance the wellbeing and quality of life for people with a disability.

To find out how Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s therapy teams can support you and your family, phone 1300 888 378.