The Fourth of July can be a fun time for most people, but for others it can feel like nails on a chalkboard, especially for children (and adults) with sensory sensitivities. Think of all the intense lights, sounds, and extra social interactions that this particular holiday brings!
Here are some ways to help your July 4th go a little smoother for you and those with sensory sensitivities:
1. PREP YOUR CHILD
You appreciate being given a heads up if something’s going to change, and your child is no different! A visual schedule for the day’s activities can be vital to letting your child know how different the day will be and will also help you to plan for overly stimulating activities. Talk through the day in the morning so they know what to expect. The above is an example of a daily visual schedule from our store (yourpbs.com), but you can always draw your own or make one with clip art!
2. BRING COMFORT ITEMS
Knowing that your child may be around a lot of friends or family that they don’t often see, it will likely be calming for your child to have a beloved stuffed animal/toy/comfort item near. Headphones and sunglasses may also be helpful during a firework show.
3. BE MINDFUL OF SENSORY INTAKE
Sandwich an overly stimulating activity with calming activities like reading a book, one-on-one play time, cuddles, quiet walk, etc. Heavy lifting activities (like pulling a wagon, carrying a basket or heavy thermos, etc.) might also be helpful to get out excess sensory energy.
4. CALMING PLACE
Sometimes enough is enough and having a place that’s away from the activity and calming can be a good reset for everyone!
5. BE FLEXIBLE
At the end of the day, your 4th of July may not have gone as planned but memories were made! Take a deep breath and regardless of how the day went, you may have learned some new sensory information regarding your child or loved one, which is always helpful.