The Fourth of July holiday is almost here! While some may feel excited about all the fireworks, parades, and family gatherings, for parents and caregivers of children who’ve been through trauma or have sensory issues, these events might be a little stressful too! 

If that’s you, here is some advice and insights from Chaddock’s Director of Treatment Services, Molly Bainter, and our Clinical Supervisor, Amanda Becks, to help make your celebrations a bit better for your child.

Common Challenges

Kids who’ve been through trauma or have sensory issues might face several challenges during the Fourth of July. Overstimulation from noise, bright lights, and crowds can be overwhelming. Additionally, if your child has had a negative experience on this holiday in the past, they may react negatively or shut down during this year’s celebrations.

Signs of Overwhelm to Watch For

If you see these behaviors in your child, they might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious or overstimulated:

  • Pacing
  • Talking loudly
  • Not feeling settled
  • Wanting to be close to you or pushing you away
  • Shutting down or not talking
  • Increase in unsafe behaviors

What You Can Do to Help

Be mindful of their sensory needs while planning holiday events.

Take into account the environment your child is going to be in during your holiday celebrations. Be mindful of the amount of people you’ll see, the activities you’ll do, noises, food, and weather. Adjust accordingly if it may be too much for your little one. 

Also, be mindful of the transitions you will face throughout the day. If there are multiple times where you’ll be changing activities, going to different places or seeing different family members, this may be a time where your child will experience a bit more stress.

Depending on the age of your child, it might be helpful to talk over these plans with them beforehand so they feel more prepared!

Pace yourself!

While holiday celebrations can make for a busy day, don’t forget to pace your activities to avoid overwhelming your child. Be sure to plan breaks from over stimulating activities for you and your child throughout the day. During that time, do calming activities like coloring, listening to music or taking a nap. Noise canceling headphones can also be a helpful tool!

By being mindful of these strategies and signs, you can help ensure the Fourth of July is a safe and enjoyable experience for all!

From all of us here at Chaddock, we hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!