The 4th of July can be such a fun time for your family. Growing up, I loved watching fireworks with my cousins and sisters – and enjoying homemade ice cream (our family holidays are always centered around food!).  When I got married and had kids of my own, celebrating the Fourth of July continued to be fun with late nights, delicious food, and a lot of fireworks. 

When it comes time to celebrate holidays with children, sometimes you just have to relax and throw out the rules, schedules, and routines.  On an ordinary day, it is important to follow awake windows, naptime and bedtime routines, and schedules.  If you don’t have a bedtime routine or don’t know where to start, feel free to download my free bedtime routine Free Bedtime Routine. I will always tell you that consistency with your little ones is the key to sleep. In fact, my number tip when discussing sleep issues with my clients: having a consistent routine or schedule. 

However, I am also all about creating family memories and living in the moment. Being off schedule for a night or two is not going to ruin anything you have established. The more consistent you are with your schedule and bedtime routine, the easier it is to get back on track after special events or holidays when you allow things to slip in the spirit of the moment or event. This is why I love a solid routine. It frees you up to be flexible in the future. Okay … I’ll step off the soapbox and now onto some useful tips for the holiday!

How can you enjoy the 4th of July with your baby or toddler?  Perhaps you are worried about the loud noises, bright lights, unhealthy foods, and being off schedule. Below I will cover 5 tips for making your 4th of July memorable and manageable. It’s all about:

  • adjusting naps and/or bedtimes
  • taking precautions around loud noises
  • starting your day with a healthy breakfast
  • implementing a modified bedtime routine, and 
  • starting new traditions for your family unit

Your schedule WILL be a little (or a lot) off during the holidays. That’s ok.  Live in the moment!  If you still have napping children, you can adjust their schedule based on your anticipated activities for the day. For example, if you still want your child to take a nap, you might have to adjust those planned nap times for the day, so they can stay up later in the evening.  

Therefore, an earlier or later nap might just do the trick.  If your child’s naptime is during travel, that is ok too!  You can be in the car during their naptime; just have them nap along the way.  If you need to hang out in the car with them once you arrive to get in some extra sleep, do it!  If you are at home and know that bedtime will be extra late that night, you can have them nap longer than usual. If your child is already a good napper, this will not mess them up for the next day.  They will get back on schedule.

If you have a little one that is sensitive to noise, you might want to try noise-canceling headphones or opt to go inside and watch from a window if possible. Unfortunately, you might have to skip fireworks altogether this year if noise is a problem for them or if they are very young. This likely is just temporary.  Read your child. If you feel the event (fireworks, a large gathering, staying up too late) is overwhelming for them – simply leave.  Having an overtired or over-stimulated child can result in a huge meltdown and you will have plenty of 4th of July celebrations in the future!

Ahead of any holiday, try to load up on a healthy breakfast to get SOME semblance of adequate nutrition in for the day.  Having a protein snack before you and your little one head out will ensure no one gets a sugar high. It is okay to have special treats on these days. 

If your child has food sensitivities, offer to bring something to a party that you know your child will like so they won’t feel left out.  Who knows, maybe this special treat can become a new favorite for everyone.

Typically on the 4th of July, you can expect an unusually late night. This means an extra late bedtime. You don’t need to go through the whole routine because your child will most likely be over-tired.  A modified bedtime routine is just fine!  A quick bath, bottle/breast (if your child is under one), brush teeth, jammies, swaddle/sleep sac, and one book is sufficient.  OR, if there is a chance that your child will fall asleep on the way home, a quick wet-wipe bath (ha!), feeding them, brushing their teeth, and putting them in their jammies is a good idea before getting in the car!  Then all you have to do is slip them into their crib or bed when you get home.

Just because YOU did something growing up or had a certain tradition that your family HAD to follow, doesn’t mean you need to continue if it doesn’t work for your immediate family. Maybe a wonderful tradition can be worked in this year – or maybe you simply need to put it on pause for the time being until the kids get older.  No big deal!  Creating new memories and traditions can be fun whenever you feel they are the right time to work into your schedule. 

I hope that these 5 tips will help your 4th of July go off with a BANG (sorry, I couldn’t help myself)!  Wishing you all safe and festive celebrations this July! 

Buy extra sparklers to use as rewards throughout the year.  My nephew LOVES sparklers and if he is working on a new habit, or gets off his routine or schedule, you better believe we are going to reward him with a sparkler!

Please reach out, if your little one isn’t sleeping well! I would love to help.
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