By Priscilla J. Dunstan, McClatchy-Tribune
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s like a big birthday party for everyone — and it’s a time when friends, family and neighbors celebrate together regardless of religious or political beliefs. We are all lucky to be living in such a safe and progressive country. Celebrate by making the most of what your community has to offer, by watching the parades, taking a picnic to the local fireworks and dressing up in patriotic colors.
Taste and smell children will love the inclusion of family and friends, the excitement and especially the meals. Making treats that have a patriotic theme will be a favorite activity. Red and blue popsicles, rectangular cakes decorated with blueberries and strawberries, cupcakes with the American flag, or sandwiches cut into stars are all foods that your taste and smell child will have fun making and passing out to those they care about.
They will love to dress up, including their favorite doll or teddy and even the family pet in the appropriate colors of red, white and blue, and will willingly help make and hand out flags and streamers to passes by so they can feel included to. Taste and smell children are all about including others and making sure everyone is happy, so a birthday party for all is right up their alley.
The tactile children will be up bright and early, in anticipation for the parades and July Fourth festivities. This is a great help as they will be more than willing to fetch things, help pack up plates and mugs for the picnic, and carry blankets and such to the car. The extra walking needed to get a good spot to watch the parade or the fireworks, won’t bother your tactile child as it will help get rid of their excess energy. In their usual tactile way, these children will tend to go overboard with excitement, so it’s best to limit their intake of sugar and junk foods so they will be able to last till the night fireworks. If possible, bring along their snuggly and set them up for a quick nap during the day so they won’t become overtired and grumpy.
Visual children will prefer the calmer side of the day. Coloring in and decorating place mats, making sure the patriotic colors are being worn and decorating the house to show their love of their country. The crowds at the parade may be frustrating for them, as being small makes it hard for them to see anything but a sea of legs. Try to find a spot that allows them a clear view of the parade, even if it is a little further away. Take with you a variety of things for them to do, such as waving pom poms, blowing on pinwheels and waving flags, to keep them entertained for the times it is not possible for them to see the parade clearly.
Auditory children will love the music of the marching bands and the many songs sung at the parade. Be aware of where you stand to watch as some places have an echo of two different bands playing, which will hurt your auditory child’s ears. Stay away from speakers and bring a set of ear plugs for when the noise gets too much or the fireworks become too screechy.
Auditory children will love the various games and activities that occur on the Fourth of July, and will happily help prepare as many things to wave as possible. Their ability to clap in time, blow on noisemakers and wave flags will impress. Print out the words to some of the popular marching band songs so you and your auditory child can also sing along
Priscilla J. Dunstan is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Priscilla and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.