Tips for Visiting a Fireworks Display with Young Childrenby Sophie Gillum-Webb
New Year's can be a fascinating experience for children and families. There are often an abundance firework displays to attend, so chances are you'll be heading to one this year!
When visiting a firework display with young children, there are a few things you can do to make sure your firework night goes off with a bang!
The countdown to the New Year is something we all get excited about. But children and babies will find it hard to keep them awake, even if they REALLY want to watch the fireworks. The trouble is, by the time it reaches anywhere near midnight, tired children can often struggle. Plan ahead and try and get them to sleep in that morning or let them have a nap in the early evening. If all else fails, make sure you have your journey home planned and make sure everything is set for bedtime before you leave the house. Using a fold-up buggy can be a great help for your arms when your child gets too tired to walk (or your arms get too tired to carry them any further), but these aren't always possible where there are large crowds. Often my kids will wear full-length snowsuit outerwear because it's usually cold where I live. I will often put them in their pyjamas underneath so that when they get home, they can strip off and climb straight into bed.
As I mentioned, my kids will often wear snowsuit style attire. Firework displays are often in fields, or if you're heading into the capital, you'll be standing in the cold for 5+ hours once you've fought yourself into a good spot, it's always cold in December so wrapping up warm is essential. It's always a good idea to have hats, scarves and gloves to hand too. If you are going to be in a field, then appropriate footwear is a must. We always opt for wellies with an extra pair of socks to keep little toes warm. It's a good idea to pack an extra pair of shoes in the car if you are driving just in case you get muddy!
Take A Torch
If somewhere local to you is putting on a New Year's Fireworks show, muddy fields tend not to have too much lighting, it's useful to have something to help navigate in the dark. A head torch is perfect as it can be used hands-free so you can keep hold of the children. Get glow sticks for the kids to wear so you can easily see them in the dark (or find them if they go wandering off).
Fireworks are magical and visually stimulating, but they are also loud. For young children, this can be quite scary. There is nothing worse than waiting ages for a firework display to begin only to have to navigate swiftly to the exit with a crying child. Ear defenders are a must-have investment. They don't block out the sound entirely, but they absolutely make it less frightening. If you're along the banks of the Thames, there are usually huge speakers playing music all night long, so try and find a spot away from these speakers, still with a clear view.
Stand at a Distance
There is a misconception that you need to stand close to the fireworks, and that is often where the crowd will naturally gravitate. With young children, standing a bit further back, where you have space around you is often safer in case anything goes horribly wrong (god forbid!), and it's way less frightening when you're in the middle of a crowd rather than at the front.
Take A Seat
Pushchairs and prams don't mix well with firework displays – it's those darn muddy fields! Pushing one around London and trying to negotiate a space for you, the buggy and your older children with tourists is hell on earth, so slings and baby carriers are a great option if your little one is small enough. For those too big for a carrier, taking a foldable camping chair is a good option, though good luck with this in the capital! It gives your little ones somewhere to rest their legs before the display starts and saves you having to pick them up!