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Navigating the 4th of July Holiday

I love the 4th of July. It was always one of my family’s most celebrated holidays. Growing up, we would often spend it at the lake and would watch fireworks from the boat with the entire extended family. Or at the neighborhood pool, sitting on the hill while the fireworks were launched over the golf course. I loved the food – corn, potato salad, hamburgers and hotdogs. Lemonade and watermelon. I love so much about it.

But as a parent now myself, I have learned that it is also one of the trickier holiday’s to navigate, sleep wise. Fireworks don’t usually start until sundown and that can be as late as 9 p.m. some places! So how do you work with this?

Two Options

There are two options, in my mind: either you go out with an understanding that you will need to be more flexible … or you stay in, watch the fireworks on TV or from your porch.

Growing up, we were definitely the former. But with my own girls, we are the latter. This year, with a 6 year old (who is old enough to stretch out her bedtime and see her first firework display!) and a 2 year old, we are dividing and conquering with a hybrid approach (E and I will be out; V and dad will be in). Which ever you choose, that is the right choice for your family!

Do's and Don'ts of Celebrating

Here are some tips to help you navigate your holiday evening to make it a little easier:

Celebrating Out and About

Do's -

  • Do try for a cat nap later in the afternoon so your little one can handle a later bedtime

  • Do bring the pajamas with you so they can ride home all comfy

  • Do bring noise cancelling head phones, especially for the newborns!

  • Do take breaks from the heat if possible (try a clip on fan, ice packs, or seek out AC)

  • Do stick to your routines, even if they are shorter (perhaps a wipe down instead of the full bath; maybe 1 book instead of 3)

  • Do your bedtime feeding and routine before heading home from the events

  • Do remember that your kiddo will probably not wake up any later just because they had a later bedtime

Don'ts -

  • Don’t worry too much about one day throwing everything off!

  • Don’t forget to take pictures!

  • Don’t forget to hydrate!

  • Don’t forget sunscreen!

Celebrating At Home

Do's -

  • Do stick to your routines +/- 30 minutes

  • Do double up on white noise: one in the room and one outside the door

  • Do turn up the white noise in the room a tad

  • Do offer support if your child wakes up during the fireworks

  • Do console any dogs you have that may need extra help during fireworks

Don'ts -

  • Don’t resort to old props to get your baby back to sleep if they wake

  • Don’t worry too much about an extra waking or two


However you celebrate the holiday, remember to have fun! Enjoy the day and evening. One night will not ruin your child’s sleep, especially if your child has great independent sleep skills. It is important to prioritize sleep but it is equally important to do the things you enjoy and that fill your cup. Be safe and simply get back on track tomorrow! Cheers!

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