A sensory friendly Fourth of July sounds like an oxymoron, but guest blogger Trish Shaeffer's tips can make it a reality this Independence Day.

Sensory friendly Fourth of July tips seem like a tall order to fill. But they are par for the course for Trish Shaeffer, mom of 3 boys with special needs and sensory issues. Today, she shares her best sensory friends Fourth of July strategies so you can implement them during your holiday celebration.

Fourth of July is almost here!

It’s time for backyard barbecues, fireworks, and swimming pools, with the smell of hot dogs and charcoal are in the air.

But what if you have a child with sensory issues? They make the holidays a little more challenging, but you can have fun by taking some of these sensory friendly Fourth of July tips with you as you go out on your Independence Day outing.

  • Prepare your child for the day, making sure your child knows what to expect. Explain that there will be a lot of people and noise.
  • If you child does not like loud noises, bring noise-canceling headphones, especially for viewing fireworks.
  • Bring favorite and familiar items like a blanket or stuffed animal when watching fireworks.
  • Remember pool safety and water safety. Children with autism may wander from your side and water may be a potential danger.
  • If your child cannot swim or does not like deeper water, try a Slip and Slide, to give your child a sensory input activity while keeping cool.
  • Need more sensory input or activities? Try bubbles or sand.
  • If you child won’t sit still for you to apply sunblock, try the spray kind. Make sure to read each product’s label for specific directions for proper use.
  • Bring a blanket or small tent and put it in the shade so your child can go there when he needs somewhere to go to cool down or decompress.
  • Make a getaway plan for when things get too much for your child. Don’t overdo it! Bow out of some engagements or outings with family as needed.

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help make your Fourth of July a more enjoyable one. You may be even able to sneak in some sensory play along the way. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Trish Shaeffer is the mom of 3 active boys with special needs. She’s a peer supporter for Parent to Parent and volunteers with the United Cerebral Palsy Network, Special Olympics, and the United Way. She’s also an equine volunteer at Leg Up Farm. She’s married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Chris Schaeffer.





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