Friday, 4 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Night: How young is too young?

I've recently been asked whether fireworks are unsuitable for a two-year-old.   It took me back to last year's bonfire night when we took Sophia to see her first firework display.

It was November (obviously!) and I was about six months pregnant.  We had decided to get away from it all, probably for the last time before the baba (now called Dexter) arrived.  My husband booked us into the plush Armathwaite Hall hotel in the Lake District, the first time we had ventured that far north, and we excitedly packed our bags and loaded up the car.

We were able to break up the journey with overnight stops at my parents and friend's houses.   It was fortunate that we could make those visits because we knew that Sophia would have been highly unlikely to tolerate six hours of being strapped onto her car seat without much to do or time to run about.   It seemed to work out really well for the three of us; Sophia didn't spend so long in the car that she got bored, she got to spend some time with her grandparents, I got to see my family and we managed to catch up with old friends.

I had never visited the Lake District before and it was amazing to drive through it; the landscape seemed to change almost instantly from flat, arable fields to grassy hills and majestic peaks.   The hotel itself was magnificent but I'm veering off the point.

Our hotel
We spent a week lounging around the hotel (being November, we never expected to get out and about and long hikes aren't really our thing anyway) and our last night coincided with their annual bonfire and firework display.  It was held on the grounds of the hotel, in a field to the side of the main building.  Being such a short distance away from the hotel we thought we'd give it a try; if Sophia really hated it we could easily run back to our room.

We waited until the firework display had started before making our way to see it, thinking it would allow our little princess time to get used to the noise.  We also gave her a little lantern to help her see where she was going, so that she would know we weren't taking her somewhere sinister. 

Her verdict on the whole thing?  She loved it.  The different colours coming from the fireworks and lighting up the sky had her completely transfixed.  We stayed right until the end and she didn't want to come away!

Back to present day and we're planning on going to our local display tonight (if it ever stops raining!).  We know Sophia will adore it and Dexter is so laid-back that, despite him being only seven-months-old, we're confident he won't be phased one little bit.

So back to the original question - are fireworks suitable for a two-year-old?  It was a great age to take Sophia and I do think our little 'tricks' helped (going to a display close by, waiting until it had started to get her used to the noise, giving her a lantern to help her see where she was going, constantly talking to her about the fireworks and their colours and making sure she could see that her mummy and daddy were having a great time).  However, I know that it won't be the same for everyone - that's what makes children unique and special after all.  Another friend of mine has said that she'll be skipping the firework displays this year because her three-year-old is still quite skittish over loud noises.  So, my advice?  You know your child best.  You'll know when they're ready.  And when they are, they will love it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes my children hated the noises when they were younger - my five year old said tonight - I don't like it when they land and it's like they are trying to kill me!"
    We always go but we tend to hold the children in our arms or at least by the hand - even when we are with a big group of friends to help them feel safe x
    Good luck with namebloho - you know - I'm doing it too !


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