Ah, the 4th of July, the holiday of freedom, fireworks, and yes, the potential for sleepless nights for parents with little ones! We all love to celebrate this patriotic day. But let’s not forget the importance of ensuring restful sleep while we celebrate.
Setting up a sleep-friendly environment is especially crucial during occasions like the 4th of July. Whether you want your little one to sleep through the festivities or enjoy the fireworks and still get their beauty rest, here are my best recommendations.
Sleep-Friendly Environment During the 4th of July Fireworks
The good news is that your child might very well sleep through the entire 4th of July celebration without any additional intervention from you. The first part of the sleep cycle tends to be the deepest. Aim to get your baby or toddler to sleep around 30-40 minutes before the fireworks start. That way they are least likely to wake up from the noise.
Additionally, the same sleep-friendly nursery setup I recommend for every other night of the year will likely serve you well on this night too. With just a few small adjustments, you will be on your way to a peaceful holiday evening no matter how loud the fireworks.
White noise to the rescue
The power of white noise is remarkable! Introduce soothing ambient sounds, such as a gentle fan or a dedicated white noise machine. These background sounds can effectively drown out the booming noises from the fireworks outside.
If necessary, you can turn up the volume either at bedtime or after they are asleep to provide even more sound dampening. Once the fireworks are over, you can turn the volume down again to its normal level. Some parents swear by placing two white noise machines (on a lower volume) in their child’s room for this night. Put one closer to the window and one closer to your baby or the door. Two machines will drown out the noise of the fireworks more effectively.
Don’t let there be light
As always, I recommend that your child’s sleeping area be completely dark. So dark that you cannot see your own hand extended in front of you. Darkness acts as a signal to their tiny brains that it’s time to drift off to dreamland.
Blackout curtains, which create a complete light barrier, are all the more important on the 4th of July. They will prevent the bursts of light from disturbing your child’s sleep. Even if you don’t normally use blackout curtains, something similar can be especially useful on this night. Some options are: renting a Slumber Pod (get 5% off with code ttsleep) to put over a Pack N Play or temporarily taping some dark paper or cardboard onto the windows.
What to Do if the 4th of July Fireworks Wake Up your Child
If your child does happen to wake up from the fireworks there are a few things to keep in mind to help you get them back to sleep as fast as possible.
Don’t rush in: Resist the urge to immediately comfort your child if they wake up. While it’s natural to want to provide immediate reassurance, allowing your child a few minutes on their own to self-soothe can help them use their own coping mechanisms.
Provide opportunities to practice self-soothing: Incorporate self-soothing techniques into your child’s sleep routine leading up to the 4th of July. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently. Gradually extend the time before intervening if they wake up during the night. This practice will help make it easier for them to settle back to sleep during firework disruptions (not to mention sleep better, period).
For older children who might be scared: Explain about the holiday and fireworks prior to the evening. In the moment, remind your child that the loud noises they hear are from the fireworks, which are a special part of the 4th of July celebration. Assure them that these sounds are temporary and will soon fade away.
Keep it simple and avoid overwhelming them with additional stimuli: During these moments, it’s best to maintain a calm and minimalistic approach. Avoid introducing new toys, turning on bright lights, or engaging in stimulating activities. Instead, create a serene environment that promotes relaxation and encourages them to fall back asleep naturally.
Enjoying Fireworks Celebrations
To be honest, in my opinion, there’s not a lot of reasons for a baby under 12 months to stay up to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. They are not likely to enjoy them and the price you’ll pay for bungling their sleep will most likely not be worth it. But to each their own, so here are my tips for enjoying fireworks with your little ones.
- Protect your child’s delicate ears with specialized noise-canceling headphones specifically fit for babies.
- Keep them at a safe distance from potentially hazardous fireworks at all times.
- Monitor treats and sugar intake. Opt for healthier alternatives as much as possible. Be especially mindful of treats closer to evening time.
- Try to find a location that isn’t too far from your house so that you can make a quick getaway and get your child back into bed as soon as possible.
If you want to keep your baby or toddler up past their regular bedtime to see the fireworks, make sure to set them up for success.
Ensure that they take as many solid naps as possible that day so they are less tired. To that end, encourage an extra catnap in the afternoon even if they don’t usually take one or let their regular afternoon nap go a little longer than normal. This will allow your child to tolerate a later bedtime to accommodate the fireworks display.
Continue to pay attention to their wake windows to ensure that bedtime is not too late. This can prevent your child from falling asleep after the fireworks are over. This is especially important since the lights and sounds are likely to themselves overstimulate your child.
Post fireworks sleep
After the fireworks have dazzled and the celebrations wind down, it’s important to help your child go back to their regular schedule as soon as possible. Be ready to do a mini bedtime routine either in the car during the trip home (don’t forget to pack pajamas), or as soon as you get back. The routine should contain all the same activities as usual but each activity should be shorter.
Just because you put your child down later does not mean they will sleep in the next morning. So try to make sure you get a good night’s sleep yourself as well.
Remember to Enjoy Yourself
Whatever you choose to do on this holiday evening – be that staying at home and watching the fireworks on TV or watching them live – remember to enjoy yourself. Holidays are a special time to make memories with your family and your child will most likely go right back to being the same sleeper they were on July 3rd.
If you find that your child struggles with going back to their strong sleep routines, or if you’d like help to improve your child’s sleep reach out to us. We can’t wait to hear from you.