12 April 2023
Watching fireworks is an exciting and unique experience. There are many holidays and events throughout the year during which children can see them, such as religious festivals, weddings and, of course, bonfire night. While there is certainly fun to be had, fireworks can also be a cause of anxiety for young children.
Go through The Firework Code with your children (or similar safety advice). If you’re attending a larger, organised event, discuss safety around a bonfire, too. There’s a fine line to tread when discussing firework safety. While you don’t want to scare your children, it’s critical that they grasp the importance of being safe.
It's always a good idea to talk through new experiences that might be unfamiliar to children beforehand, so they know what to expect. What children are often anxious about is the unknown. Take some time to explain what will happen and how they might feel. If possible, show them some videos or pictures. Having these discussions also gives your child a chance to ask questions they might have. Again, it can be a delicate balance preparing children without inducing fear. Try to keep the discussion positive, making sure you put plenty of emphasis on the fun that they’re likely to have.
The chances are that children will find fireworks exciting, even if they’re a little anxious, too. Do your best to focus on and play up the fun aspects of watching fireworks. You get to wrap up warm, stay up late and spend some time together with family and friends. If you’re going to an organised event, do some research to find the event that will suit your child and give them the most positive experience. They might prefer a smaller event, or even having a small backyard display of their own before attending anything bigger. If they’re still anxious, maybe they can dress in their pyjamas and bring their favourite teddy? Or watch from the window inside?
It’s possible to buy low-noise fireworks for children who are sensitive to loud bangs, or for children who haven’t experienced them before. Bear in mind, though, that these don’t completely eliminate noise and the sudden “whoosh” that most fireworks make as they take off is present. Still, using these can be an option to help younger children get an idea for what to expect from a full fireworks display. Laser shows are another option to help children experience the idea without the loud bangs.
Make sure you’re prepared, too. Are you ready for all weather eventualities? If you’re heading to an event, make sure you have plenty of food and drinks with you and a means for children to sit. Think about what you will do if your child is scared or doesn’t like the experience - be ready to miss the fireworks or go home early if need be. If you’re staying in, think about making a quiet, safe spot in the house. Maybe ask your close neighbours to let you know if they’re planning any fireworks, too.