June 30, 2020

How to Help a Child Sleep During Fireworks or Thunderstorms

Babies, Newborns, Older Children, Toddlers

I don’t know about you, but I love sleeping during a heavy rain.

I’m thankfully a pretty deep sleeper and I don’t often wake to storms, but sometimes thunder is just so loud it startles me out of my sleep. As an adult, it may keep me up for a few minutes, but I’m always able to fall back asleep.

For young kiddos, however, a loud sound like thunder or fireworks can not only wake them but also scare them, making it much harder to fall back asleep.

How to Handle Our Child’s Sleep During a Thunderstorm or Fireworks

fireworks and thunderstorms

For children of any age, if something like thunder or fireworks wakes them up, first WAIT! If they have independent sleep skills, there is a good chance they will fall back asleep. And if that’s the case, yay! You get to roll over and go back to sleep as well.

If you’ve waited a few minutes and your child is still upset (or in your room, of course), it’s time to respond.

First…sound machines are a beautiful invention for so many reasons, one being they often drown out or greatly minimize the loudness of outside noise like thunder or fireworks.

I highly recommend families have white noise in their child’s bedrooms for this reason. It may help your independent sleeper sleep through all of the noise, or it can greatly minimize the extra noise, helping him fall back asleep more easily.


The good news is, more often than not, I’ve noticed that babies who have solid sleep skills often sleep right through storms and other loud noises outdoors.

However, if your baby does wake up, first wait 10 minutes to see if he’ll put himself back to sleep. If he’s an independent sleeper, chances are he will!

If he is not able to fall back asleep, then go into his room and try to use your voice and touch to reassure him. If he’s still upset, pick him up to provide him with some extra comfort (i.e. rocking, bouncing, singing), and then lay him back down (awake!) to fall asleep again.

If he is still upset after soothing him, you can also back track to the last few steps of your bedtime routine – turn on a dim light, read a book, sing your nighttime song, and lay him down.

If your baby still relies on quite a bit of help to fall asleep at the onset of bedtime and they are woken up by thunder, fireworks, or another loud sound, they’ll likely need your help getting back to sleep again.

So however you help them fall asleep at bedtime (i.e. feeding, rocking, bouncing) or however you help them fall back asleep during a night waking, you’ll need to respond similarly to get them back to sleep.

Toddlers and Older Children

If your toddler or older child wakes up from thunder, fireworks, or another loud sound, and they’re normally an independent sleeper, try to wait 10 minutes to give them the chance to fall back asleep before becoming more stimulated upon seeing you.

If they come running right to your room, or if you’ve waited ten minutes and they’re still upset, then go into your child’s room (or walk him back to his room), turn on a low light if necessary, talk to him, and give him some extra cuddles if he wants!

You can affirm that he’s safe and that everything’s okay, and that it’s time for sleep. (This is another reason I love toddler clocks! Remind him that the light is still red, and “Red means bed.”) You can also explain what thunder is, talk about how he’s safe, and practice some calming strategies you’ve used with him during the day.

If he’s woken by something like fireworks, you can even let him peak out the window and watch them! Once he’s calm, remind him of bedtime expectations and leave so he can drift back to sleep.

You could even give your child an extra lovey for the night, or something that belongs to you (i.e. one of our shirts), to hug extra tight as he’s falling back to sleep.

If your child already struggles with fears around sleep in general, read this blog post to see what other strategies you can use to help alleviate those fears at bedtime.

What if They Just Won’t Go Back to Sleep?

If your baby or child is still really worked up and you feel as though you should stay longer, THAT’S OKAY!

Sure, in a perfect world your child would receive your comfort and drift back into sleep, and that may very well happen. But some kiddos will simply need more comfort, and as parents, it’s our job to provide that comfort!

So if you need to hold your child or sit with him until the storm is over, that’s okay. If you need to sit in his room until your child is back asleep, that’s also okay! We don’t want that to become your norm, but thunderstorms or fireworks every night is not the norm.

[Notice I’m not suggesting you pull your child into bed with you for the night. Making sure he still sleeps in his own bed will help encourage those independent sleep skills you’ve worked so hard to achieve!]


The good news is, whether a loud thunderstorm, fireworks outside the window, or some other loud noise wakes your child, this one “off night” shouldn’t drastically or forever change your child’s sleep habits. So the next night, go right back to the same bedtime routines and expectations you’ve had in the past, and respond to your child like you would on a normal night.

And if for whatever reason you need help getting back on track, I’m here for you!

Or if you’re reading this and the thought of your child startling awake and being able to fall back asleep, or even sleep independently in the first place, is only a dream, I’m so glad you’re here! And I’d love to chat more with you. Book a (free) Discovery Call today so I can hear more about what your child’s sleep looks like and what your goals are, and then I can share more about how I can help!

With Grace,


fireworks and sleep