Helping a Child Who is Afraid of Fireworks

Whether it is July 4 or a special celebration, how to help kids enjoy the show

my child is afraid of fireworks
You want your preschooler to enjoy a good fireworks show, but his fears are getting the best of him. How to help. Getty Images

If your child is afraid of fireworks, certain celebrations can quickly become not-so-fun for your family. July 4 festivities, fireworks after a baseball game, even after-hour celebrations at Disney World suddenly go from happy events to places you need to leave as quickly as possible.

It's not surprising that fireworks are something that many little kids are not fans of. While beautiful and awe-inspiring and downright magical, they are often very loud.

Even shows put on by the professionals often include more than their fair share of booms, bangs, and pops.

And just because your kids are happy with the fireworks at first, it doesn't mean that contentment will last. Many little kids are able to sit through one show, but the next time they attend, end up leaving in tears. If a fireworks celebration is in your near future, there are things you can do to help your preschooler enjoy the festivities, rather than want to flee from them. Here's how:

Prepare them ahead of time. Given the chance, most little kids would want to like fireworks, it's just that the unexpected noise freaks them out. So do some preventative work. Explain to your preschooler where you are going and exactly what they are going to see and hear. Talk about how while fireworks are loud, they can't hurt your child or anyone in the family because they are so far away.

Ask questions. Find out from your child what it is exactly he or she doesn't like about fireworks.

The noise? The flashes of light? The dark sky? Once you know exactly what it is that is causing your child to be afraid, you can come up with a strategy to help him or her enjoy the show.

Answer questions. For some kids, it isn't the noise part of the fireworks that is scary, it's the balls of fire falling from the sky that cause some concerns.

So talk to your child and explain that the fireworks are very, very high up in the sky and won't be able to hurt anyone.

Do some homework. Hit the local library for a fireworks display movie, or do a google search of firework movies. Show your preschooler ahead of time exactly what they can expect -- the sights and the sounds.

Give your child fear-fighting tools. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones can do wonders for a child who doesn't like the sounds of fireworks. A light blanket will help a child who simply wants to take peeks at the bright lights, rather than take everything in at once. A flashlight is sure to please those kids that are afraid of the dark. And for those kids who are simply unsure about everything, can you park your car near enough to the display so your child can go inside of it if things get too intense? Letting your child know you will do what you can to help will go a long way to easing their fears.

Let time do its thing. If your 3-year-old isn't a fan of fireworks, your future 4-, 5-, or 6-year old probably will be.

So don't push the issue. Don't be afraid to skip the show for now, knowing that in the coming years your child will be right by your side, cheering on the fun.

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