Let Freedom Ring!!!!!

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Don’t let the ‘ring’ ruin the day!

July 4th week!  Picnics! Parades! Fireworks! Tantrums!  Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly, tantrums! Otherwise known as ‘melt-downs’, ‘explosions’, ‘losing your marbles’, whatever the name, the result of these moments in time can create a stressful situation for everyone involved, child, parent, siblings, and casual observers. As mentioned in previous posts, one way to better manage these moments is count on them and plan for them.

Count on the fact that there will be something your child will not understand, wants but won’t be able to clearly communicate, be afraid of, not want to wait for, etc.  You probably already know what that ‘something’ is without having to even be in the situation. This year, proactively prepare your child for these situations.

Parades- in the town I live in, the 4th of July parade is one of the premier events of the Summer – one NOT to miss! The parade route is lines with friendly faces 3 and 4 deep.  There will be at least 3 bands, firetrucks, and emergency trucks to entertain young and old. AND the best part – CANDY!!!! Every float will be tossing candy to the crowd! Fun?!??!  Not for everyone! If your community has a parade or if you will be at a parade at anytime with your child, consider a few of these tips:

  • Find a location along the route that is less populated and stake your claim.
    • Typically the start of the parade or early into the route is less crowded.  
    • Ask the homeowner if you can sit on their tree lawn (this simple question could be the start of a new friendship).
    • Ask if you can put lawn chairs or a blanket in the area that you will be sitting either the evening before or early in the AM – now you don’t have to be haired looking for a place to sit/stand during the parade.
  • Consider using some sort of music or headphones to help regulate the noise.
    • If your child will wear ear plugs or has noise canceling headphones make sure to use them before the parade starts – don’t want your child to be startled by the marching band’s drumline or the fire engine’s siren.
    • If your child will listen to music, have his/her favorite playlist on a portable device.  She/he can still enjoy the parade while listening to preferred music which will help dampen the other sounds.
  • Typically, the parade line-up is available somewhere – city website, friend of a friend is the chairperson, etc.
    • Use this to preview the parade  – “First we will see the fire trucks, then we will see the marching band, then we will see the baseball teams, etc.”.
    • Use this information to help anticipate what is happening next – “After the clowns, we will see and hear the huge fire truck.”
    • Use this information to plan your entry and exit – “After the dance float, the parade is over and we will go home.”
  • Somehow, someway, make sure your child’s name and YOUR cell number are on your child.
    • Use a marker and write it on his/her arm.
    • Make a name tag and put it on your child’s BACK
    • If she/he will keep a necklace or bracelet on make one  – Pintrest is FULL of ideas.

Picnics – Many choices and  many new foods can make for a frustrating mealtime for everyone.  Not only preparing the meal (or part of it) is stressful, but worrying that your child may or may not eat all day adds another layer of stress.  Do yourself a favor and try one or all of these tips.

  • Offer to bring something that requires little to no preparation – you’ll have your hands full – paper products, beverages, chips are all great options without the fuss.
  • Bring food you know your child will eat – it’s OK if she/he is not eating what everyone else it eating – it’s a picnic.  What’s on the plate is not what’s important; those sitting around the table are!
  • Make your child’s favorite breakfast – and plenty of it – so you know he/she has eaten a complete meal, even if the rest of the day is a steady diet of chips and watermelon.
  • Bring a special blanket or lawn chair for specific for your child.  Maybe it has a character on it that is calming or ‘hugs’ your child when he/she sits in it. Don’t give it up to anyone else, make it a special ‘safe’ place for your child.
  • Create or bring a small tent for your child.  Give them a space (much like the chair or blanket) that is away from the bustle of others – you may want to crawl in it with them at some time :).
  • Make a quick choice board of the different foods.
    • Bring tape, scissors and a piece of paper to the picnic.
      • Cut labels off of foods and tape them on the paper
    • Use your cell phone
      • Take pictures of the different food items
      • Put them in a collage – instant communication board

Fireworks – amazing and scary all in one! Hopefully some of these ideas will end up in you and your family enjoying the fireworks versus fearing the fireworks.

  • Location, location, location –
    • Find a location where you can see the fireworks but maybe not hear them
    • Find a location where you can watch them from inside (ie: upstairs bedroom window)
    • Find a location where your child (and you) feel safe
  • Headphones/music – see above in the parade section
  • Watch them on TV

Remember, these are just moments in time, so enjoy every one!  Prior planning puts everyone in a better place! Happy Fourth of July!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy.

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