When I was a kid I remember a few occasional BBQ’s on the 4th at my Aunts and Uncles with some fireworks, it was safe, sane and fun. When I grew up, got married and we started our careers as Property Managers we spent the 4th with hoses on the front lawn of the properties we worked at. One of our last ones in Auburn back in 2004 James put out a lawn fire from a firework for a neighbor. He was outside and we had set out sprinklers and most of the lawn was dead already so we just wet everything down when some boneheads (it’s a family blog have to keep it clean) drove by and shot fireworks out the window of their car. Catching the lawn on fire of a elderly family across the street. Needless to say it was not our favorite time of year. Loved the meaning, just not how it had become so…..flammable and a drink/drunk fest.
So with these fond memories we set out to make sure the 4th for our family was fun and we honor the holiday as a family in our own way. With our SPD kiddos that means for now *quietly!* Some children (and people of all ages) with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are unable to be around loud noises. In some cases it isn’t even a noise as loud as a firework. My oldest son Wyatt is very sensitive to noises like fans, vacuums, and alarms. In Wyatt;s case most of the time its from sounds that he can not *SEE* a reason or the source. So a fan in a ceiling of a public restroom or a loud unusual car or motorcycle driving by, and especially alarms like for fire or such. So the fireworks while we have been prepare the boys for them are just another loud noise. Wyatt’s learning coping techniques which is helping a lot so I am really happy with the progress he is making. But not to push our luck we are planning another a fun family 4th at home.
Last year we ran some errands and made sure to be home before dinner. We made up a sand table for the kids to play in on the back porch early in the afternoon to get out some energy and had a nice BBQ dinner at home. No fireworks in this house (maybe someday who knows) so Wyatt our oldest went with Dad to pick out some glow sticks earlier in the day. A lot of fun bright colors and a little imagination make for a fun show! If you have a manual camera turn off the Auto and start taking pictures its a lot of fun to see the colors and the kids LOVE looking back at their FIREWORKS on the computer or printed photos later on after the holiday. We turned off the lights in the bedrooms, hall way and bathrooms and the boys (and who am I kidding and my husband) paraded around the house with “Glow Stick Fireworks” for hours. We would pause every so often and take a break to see the photos I had taken or for dessert. But over all it was a big hit.
When it was time for bed we promised more fun with the glow sticks another time. I’m careful not to overuse this new found trick, its fun and new and exciting and I can use it on the 4th and on New Years (another fireworks time of year around here) we also put a box fan in the boys bedroom to help drown out the noise from the fireworks. It seamed to work last year. They both wok up refreshed and my oldest said he *may* have heard a few loud fireworks he couldn’t remember.
As we get ready for the 4th this year, we are planning another quiet Sensory Friendly 4th at our home again. This year we have moved into a area that allows fireworks so we are upping our game and making sure we are extra prepared and on schedule. But we wont forget our Glow Stick Fireworks. The boys are already talking about them and excited to go pick some out soon at the dollar store!!
Happy Independence Day. I hope your family is having a fun and safe holiday!