Watermelon, swim suits, stars and stripes, parades, annnnd... fireworks.
The Fourth of July is all fun and games until the kids are in bed and the city's fireworks start booming. And booming. And keep booming. Really loudly. Unfortunately, fireworks and sleep don't mix very well.
Today I've got a few tips for you to preserve your child's sleep during this great American holiday.
1) Maintain routines. Overtired children are no fun for anyone and will certainly put a damper on the celebration, so I recommend keeping with your normal routines and schedules as much as possible. That said, if a nap or bedtime needs to happen a little off schedule, be sure to offer the next day's nap(s) and bedtime a bit earlier than usual so your little one can catch up on lost sleep from the day before.
2) Stick with bedtime. If you are staying home on the Fourth, have your child in bed at their normal bedtime (hopefully that's between 6-8pm) so that they will be in a deep sleep during the fireworks show. Keeping your child on-schedule with their usual bedtime will allow their body to fall into its natural sleep patterns, with the deepest stages of sleep occurring before midnight, and will lessen the chance that the fireworks will wake them.
3) Prepare your child in advance. If you have a toddler or older child, let them know that they might hear some noises in the night from fireworks, and if they do, everything is okay and they need to go back to sleep. Letting your child know what will be going on will help them to feel less startled if they wake in the night from the loud noises.
4) Turn that white noise UP! Crank up the volume on your child's white noise machine and/or add another source of white noise to their sleep environment. An box fan, another white noise machine, a white noise app, or an air purifier can go far in helping to drown out the fireworks' blasts.
5) Respond to wakings appropriately. If your child is woken up, pause for a couple of minutes to see if they will resettle and return to sleep on their own. If they're becoming more upset and not resettling, go in and provide some extra comfort to help them return to sleep. Be sure that you are calm, confident, and reassuring so your little one can move past the scary incident as quickly as possible. If you approach your child bothered, frustrated, or impatient, they will pick up on your reaction and it will likely prolong their waking. Such a response from a parent can even encourage night wakings in the future, so be careful.
Bonus Tip! If you are going to be out past bedtime for a fireworks show, take care of as much of your child's bedtime routine while you're out. Dress them in their pj's, take along their toothbrush, read a quick story in the car before heading home, etc. Hopefully your child will fall asleep on the drive home and you will be able to smoothly transfer them into their bed when you get back.