Creating a Fun 4th of July for Your Child with Sensory Issues

The Fourth of July is right around the corner. Although this is a big celebration for many families, it also presents a 24-hour burst of sensory information. Fireworks explode like gunshots. People crowd small spaces, talking, laughing, and balancing yummy foods on styrofoam plates. New tastes sink into the tastebuds, and the smell of fireworks permeates the air.

All these things can be overwhelming for those with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), making this special day a unique challenge.

In this video Dr. Lauren Alvarado offers some suggestions for creating a successful and fun July 4th for your child with sensory issues.


4th of a July can be a lot for your child's senses to take in. Here are a few additional tips to make the day a little less overwhelming.

1. Cut Down on Stimulation

Will the lights from sparklers or fireworks be too bright? Slide some sunglasses on your child’s nose. Will the fireworks be too loud? Give your kiddo some ear muffs or noise-canceling headphones. You can also pick up some foam earplugs from any drug store. Be sure to practice with them ahead of time. Getting them in comfortably might take a few tries.

2. Offer the Comforts of Home

If you are going somewhere outside of the home to enjoy the holiday, let your child bring along his/her favorite game, book, or toy. An object that’s familiar will be soothing, and an object that’s entertaining will be…well, entertaining! And if your child gets restless while waiting for food, fireworks, and activities, entertainment can come in handy.

You can also bring familiar foods and drinks if your child will be exposed to new tastes.

3. Give Your Child a "Special Space"

Spread out a blanket or set up a chair for your child, and let him or her know that the space is his/hers (make sure everyone else knows that, too!). This can ease the discomfort s/he might feel in a big group of people.

Do you have other helpful tips or ideas that we didn't mention? Share them with us on Instagram or Facebook!