Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tips for Recognizing SPD

Are you wearing orange this October?  Wearing orange in October means more than just Halloween in the Sensory Processing Community.  October is Sensory Processing Awareness Month and orange is the awareness movement’s color.

Since children living with sensory sensitivity are near and dear to our hearts, we wanted to spread awareness by reminding us all of the signs a child may display indicating a sensory sensitivity.  The information below comes directly from the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: the Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues.  We recommend the book which can be purchased on Amazon.  The blog should not be used in place of advice from a medical doctor or occupational therapist.

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing refers to how a person uses the information provided by the sensations coming from within the body, as well as the external environment.  We all remember learning about the five senses in school (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound).  In addition to the five traditional senses, a person will also receive sensory input from the body’s position and movement.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

When it is suggested that a child may have sensory processing disorder, it usually means that the child displays symptoms of hypersensitivity – a child who is over sensitive to stimuli – or hyposensitivity – a child who is under sensitive to stimuli.  There are many different symptoms to look for when determining if a child may have a sensory processing disorder.

Over-Sensitive Children

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Touch

A child who is over sensitive to touch may avoid several of all types of touching or may shy away from being touched.  This is known as tactile defensiveness.  They may not like to be held as infants or toddlers.  These children may not like the feel of certain textures on their hands and feet and avoid things that may make them messy like paint, glue, sand, etc.  They may not like holding things in their hands – especially if the object is made of certain textures.  This avoidance can lead to delays in fine and gross motor skills.  They also may take issue with certain clothing items or fabrics, socks, shoes, seams, tags or waistbands.

Body Position

A child who is over sensitive to the body’s position has trouble understanding where his own body is in space.  This child doesn’t understand how much force needs to be applied for certain activities, so they appear to be weak and clumsy.  They may have trouble closing snaps or buttons or attaching snap-together toys.

Body Movement

A child with body movement sensitivities may avoid movements that require him to unnecessarily pick his feet up off the ground, such a jumping or skipping.  He may be hesitant or afraid of stairs or playground equipment.  He may have trouble with balance or easily become dizzy.  He may easily become motion sick and avoid things like carousels or spinning toys.

Sound

This child has trouble shutting out background noise.  Simple sounds like the noise of a vacuum cleaner may be too much.  Or the hum of an air conditioner or refrigerator may be distracting and annoying.  This is also the child that needs total silence in order to go to sleep and stay asleep.  Being in loud or crowded settings may be difficult for this child.

Sight

A child who is over sensitive to sight may have trouble adjusting to bright lights.  They may have trouble following moving objects or making eye contact.  They may become overexcited or agitated if there is too much to look at.

Smell

The difficulty that this child experiences is that many common scents or odors may seem overly fragrant.  He may hold his nose and object to things that may seem fine to most people.  They may gag easily or become nauseated.

Taste

Taste goes hand-in-hand with smell, so many of the symptoms will be the same.  But, this child may also object to certain food textures.  He may have difficulty with foods that are too hot or too cold.  He may gag easily on foods or may find that only certain foods are acceptable.  He may have difficulty trying new foods.

Under-Sensitive Children

Touch

A child who is under sensitive to touch may not react to sensations that other children find upsetting.  These can include childhood vaccinations or common, minor injuries such as scraped knees.  The may seek strong hugs or cuddles and may be especially comforted by them.

Body Position

Like a child who is over sensitive to body position, an under-sensitive child has difficulty determining how much force should be applied to an object.  This child may too easily break crayons or spill drinks.  He may push or bump into other children and seem aggressive because he can’t properly apply an adequate amount of force.

Body Movement

This child will seem fearless.  For example, he may be the child that climbs furniture or wants to swing higher and higher on playground equipment.  Or, he may be unable to sit still and constantly fidgets.

Sound

This is the child that just doesn’t seem to pick up on verbal instructions.  He may miss something a teacher says during class.  He may seem to not hear you when you call his name even though his ability to hear is not impaired.  He may frequently ask others to repeat things.

Sight

Under sensitive children may overcompensate for their sight sensitivities by touching objects.  They may stare at objects or words or may seem distracted by them.

Smell

An under sensitive child may crave certain scents.  He may frequently sniff food, people or objects.  Or he may not be bothered by unpleasant or strong odors.

Taste

This child may want to taste objects that are not meant to be food.  He may crave certain foods or crave extra flavor – particularly something spicy or strong-flavored.

Knowing some of the common symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder will help parents to identify ways to help their children better process input.

Don’t forget your orange SmartKnitKIDS socks to help spread awareness!

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Biel, Lindsey, and Nancy K. Peske. Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues. New York, NY: Penguin, 2009. Print.

Memorial Day Facts

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer.  The three-day weekend is chalk full of barbecues, parades, super sales and pool and water park openings.  But, what is it, truly, that we are celebrating?  Many people don’t know that the day is set aside for remembering and memorializing American servicemen and women that have been killed in American wars.  But, there is so much more to the story.  Here are several facts about Memorial Day you may not know:

  1. Civil War origins – The late spring remembrance to American war dead began in the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, it was an informal commemoration of the roughly 620,000 soldiers killed during the Civil War.
  2. Freed American slaves organized earliest commemorations – On May 1, 1865, black US soldiers, including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, gathered in Charleston, South Carolina at a new burial for Union dead. They distributed flowers and sang hymns.
  3. Official holiday founded in May 1868 – General John A. Logan, who was commander of a Union veterans’ group called the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed that May 30 would become a nationwide day of commemoration.
  4. Did not become a federal holiday until 1971 – After General Logan decreed a national day in 1868, more than 27 states adopted some form of commemoration. By 1890, every state had adopted it, but the day still only recognized Civil War dead.  After our entry into World War I, the holiday was expanded to include those killed in all wars.  But it wasn’t until 1971, when the U.S. was 6 years deep into the Vietnam War, for Memorial Day became the federal holiday set aside on the last Monday of May that we know it as now.
  5. Many have lobbied for it to return to May 30 – Many Veterans groups that American do not use the day for its intended purpose, but instead associate it with the first long weekend of the summer. They argue that returning the commemoration back to May 30, regardless of the day of the week would return the significance to honoring war dead.
  6. Memorial Day traditions and practices – On Memorial Day, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until 12:00 noon, and then raised to the top. In 2000 Congress passed a resolution that suggested Americans should pause at 3:00 pm local time to offer a National Moment of Remembrance.
  7. Who is included in a Federal Holiday – A Federal holiday, like Memorial Day, technically only applies to Federal employees and those in the District of Columbia. However, many of the 11 federal holidays, Memorial Day included, are observed by all 50 states and many businesses.

This Memorial Day, as you’re having barbecues and parades, pause for a few moments to remember those American servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Happy Memorial Day from our team and Knit-Rite and Therafirm.

National Youth Sports Safety Month

Well it’s springtime, and if you house is anything like mine, spring sports or even practices for summer sports, are in full swing.  Seems like perfect timing for April to be designated as National Youth Sports Safety Month.  Many studies have shown the true benefit to children playing organized sports.  But, one main concern involving children’s sports is always safety and preventing injury.

Injuries can range anywhere from serious injuries like bone breaks, concussions and dehydration to small things such as blisters.  Many parents tell us that our SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing, irritation and blisters and make especially great soccer socks, as well as socks to wear under ice skating or horse riding boots!  Who knew?!  Actually, it makes perfect sense because the moisture wicking properties in SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing and irritation caused by moisture.  The completely seamless nature of our socks eliminate other sources of irritation and pressure points.  Our socks are actually great at helping to prevent these small injuries from occurring keeping your kiddos active and in the game.

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Our team at SmartKnitKIDS encourages kids to get active and be involved in youth sports.  It’s a great way to build confidence, develop teamwork and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  And even though our socks can prevent the blisters, it’s important to remember the following things to prevent the serious injuries from occurring.

  1. Get a Pre-Participation Physical Exam – Most school organized sports will require children to receive these physicals before participating. They are a great way to help diagnose any medical conditions that may put your child at risk.  Many sports for younger children don’t require a physical in order to participate, but it doesn’t hurt to mention to your pediatrician any sports or physical activities your child will be playing.
  2. Develop a Hydration Culture – Always send your child to practice with plenty of water – especially during the hotter months. Make sure your child is well hydrated before arriving at practice, and that coaches are allowing frequent hydration breaks throughout practice.
  3. Stretch Before Practicing – A good warmup before practices or games will help keep muscles loose and prevent tears or sprains. Always build in plenty of time for warm up into any practice and arrive early prior to games in order to warm up.
  4. Develop an Off Season – Children are children and it’s important not to push them too hard or let them push themselves too hard either. Most sports medicine specialists recommend 10 consecutive weeks of rest from any one sport in a year’s time.
  5. Wear the Right Gear – Each child should wear all appropriate safety gear (helmets, shin guards, mouth guards, cups, shoulder pads, knee pads, etc.) for both practices and games. Ensure that the gear is the right size and is being worn correctly to prevent injury.
  6. Don’t Forget Sunscreen – Whenever you are outdoors for longer periods of time, sunscreen is definitely in order. Many stores will carry sweat proof sunscreen specifically designed for sports.  Remember that the sun can be damaging even when cloudy or even when the temperature is cool.  And, make sure to rub some on the whole family, not just the athlete.
  7. Be Prepared for Minor or Major Emergencies – At least one coach or parent volunteer should be certified in first aid or CPR. Keep a first aid kit and cell phone handy with your sports equipment.  Make sure you know the address of where you’re at in case you need to relay that information to an ambulance.  Be able to recognize the signs of dehydration or concussion.
  8. Eat a Healthy Diet – Grabbing some chicken nuggets from the McDonald’s drive through on the way to a game is sometimes necessarily convenient for many parents. But, make an effort to feed your child foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, as well as lean protein which will help build muscles.  Carbohydrates in moderation are a good fuel for right before a game or practice, but avoid foods high in sugar or fat.
  9. Get Adequate Sleep – Sleep allows your body to refuel – something that is always important, but especially so when playing sports. Got an early Saturday morning game?  Make sure the kids get in bed early on Friday night so they will get enough sleep.  Children should get the following based on their age:
  • 3 to 6 year olds: 10 to 12 hours
  • 7 to 12 year olds: 10 to 11 hours
  • 12 to 18 year olds: 8 to 9 hours

With that SmartKnitKIDS wishes all of our young athletes a successful season!  Play hard, Stay safe and healthy, and Do your best!

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

Leap Day Story and Fact

Well today is Leap Day – the day that only comes around once every four years.  And with it comes quite a history and a collection oddities as unique as the day itself.  Take a look:

How the day came to pass

Blame it on the ancient Egyptians (okay, someone else would have probably figured it out by now if it hadn’t been them, but it was, so we’ll blame them).  What did they do?  They figured out that the man-made calendar they were using didn’t always match up quite right with the solar year.  That’s because it actually takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to travel one rotation around the sun – just a smidge longer than the standard 365 days they were using.

It was the Romans, though, that took it one step further – fixing it.  Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, in 45BC to come up with a simple solution.  Sosigenes figured that if he added one day to the calendar every fourth year, things would then line up.  And so, Leap Day or February 29 was born.  At that time, February was the last month of the year, so they just tacked the extra day onto the end of it.  This was known as the Julian calendar (after Julius Caesar himself) and was used from that time all the way until 1582 AD.

That’s when someone else, Pope Gregory XIII, figured out that even adding the extra day every four years, it still wasn’t quite right.  We were adding 11 minutes and 14 seconds more than necessary each year.  What’s 11 minutes, right?  Well in the 1,627 years it took for someone to figure this out, it amounted to about 10 days!!  Okay, now I get why that 11 minutes was so important.

So, what did Pope Gregory do about it?  He cut a whopping 10 days out of the month of October for the year of 1582 for starters.  But, more importantly, Gregory also set up exact rules for adding Leap Day to the calendar.

Gregory’s Rules: An extra day is added to the calendar in every year that is divisible by four.  Century years (1800, 1900, 2000, etc.) are excluded from adding the extra day unless they are also divisible by 400.  For example, 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was.  2100 will not be.

Thanks to Pope Gregory and his rules, our calendar will be in tune with the seasons for the next several thousand years.  Gregory was one smart Pope!  Sadly though, not everyone was so keen to change over their calendars.  Religious politics as they were at the time meant that the Catholic Church’s Bishop of Rome wasn’t exactly super popular.  (Europe was in the middle of the Protestant Reformation.)  Catholic countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy were pretty quick to adopt Gregory’s calendar, but Protestant countries were slow to follow.  The British Empire, which included the colonies that became the United States, didn’t adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752!  We were nearly 200 years late to the party, folks!  But, even later, were the Eastern European countries which finally accepted the change during the 1910s and 1920s!

So with that wacky history, there are bound to be other quirks.

Women Proposing Marriage to Men

In many countries around the world, February 29 is the day for women to propose to men!  A woman may propose to any man she chooses, but some countries stipulate that she must wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat.  If the man refuses, he owes her a pair of gloves (or 12 pairs), fabric for a skirt, a silk dress, a kiss or even some money, depending entirely on what country the pair are from.  Get your red petticoats out, girls!

Woman proposes

Work-for-Free Day

Did you know that you might be spending Monday working for free?  If your wages are paid on a fixed annual or monthly salary, than you are working an extra day in 2016.  Since your salary is figured on a standard 365-day year, February 29 is technically a Work-for-Free Day!

Leapers, Leaplings or Leap-Day Babies

Did you know that if you are born on February 29, you are known as a Leaper, a Leapling or a Leap-Day Baby.  Anyone else getting images of frogs right now?  Any person’s chances of being born on Leap Day are one in 1,461.  And since there are roughly five million leaplings around the world, it’s safe to say those odds have been beaten a few times.  So, when would a Leapling celebrate a birthday during non leap years?  Most leaplings say you get to pick between February 28 and March 1.  Legally speaking, though, it depends on what country you’re in.  Most U.S. states, as well as the U.K. and Hong Kong designate March 1st, while China, Taiwan and New Zealand have picked February 28.  So, if you’re a leapling and you’re planning to get your driver’s license, register to vote or have your first beer, you might have to wait an extra day.

Obviously, it’s pretty rare to be a leapling, but I wonder what the odds are of giving birth to THREE leaplings?  A Norwegian woman holds the record for this, giving birth to the most children on consecutive leap days.  She had daughter Heidi on February 29, 1960; son Olav on February 29, 1964 and finally son Lief-Martin on February 29, 1968.  That’s just wild!

The Keogh family of the U.K. has had one in three consecutive generations beginning with Peter Anthony on Leap Day in 1940; his son Peter Eric on Leap Day in 1964; and granddaughter Bethany on Leap Day in 1996.

Or, what about Sir James Milne Wilson, who was the 8th premier of Tasmania.  He was BORN on Leap Day in 1812 and DIED on Leap Day in 1880.

Astrologers believe that Leaplings all have unusual talents.  This might be true since famous Leaplings include English poet Lord Byron AND rapper Ja Rule!

Leap Year Capital of the World

Apparently the people of Anthony, Texas really like Leap Years, because they have designated themselves the Leap Year Capital of the World.  They hold a Leap Year Festival, which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, square dancing and even “fun at the horse farm”!

Skipping Leap Day

Because of Pope Gregory’s cool calculation, every 100 years we skip a Leap Year . . . except when we don’t!  The year 2000 would have been skipped since it’s a century year, but since it has the unique fact that it is also divisible by 400, we didn’t skip it.  This means that the last skipped Leap Year was in 1900 and the next one won’t be until 2100.  And the vast majority of all people living today will never skip a Leap Year.

Leap Year Superstitions

Some cultures think Leap Year is unlucky.  The Chinese believe that more accidents and mishaps occur during the Leap Year.  They believe children born during that time are harder to bring up.  And that it’s also a bad time to start a business or get married.

In Russia, leap year is believed to bring freak weather patterns and a great risk of death.  Russian, as well as Scottish, farmers believe that leap years are bad years for crops and livestock.

Greeks also believe it’s a bad time to get married.  And in Italy, there is a legend that says that women are erratic during a leap year, and that you shouldn’t plan important life events during those years.

And somehow U.S. Presidential election years AND Summer Olympic years line up with Leap Years.  I wonder if that was planned . . . .

There you have it – Leap Year and Leap Day facts!  Go impress your friends or win a round of Jeopardy!

Have a Healthy Valentines Day!

Does it ever seem like we roll right from one unhealthy food holiday into another?  Halloween, Christmas, Super Bowl.  And now with Valentine’s Day upon us, are you dreading your children bringing home another bag full of candy?  Or cupcakes and cookies?  Instead of the sugar overload, how about celebrating Valentine’s Day with your family with healthy foods and fun activities.  Here are a few ideas we came up with!

Valentine’s Day Family Dinner Date – Children love to play grown-up.  Let the kids help plan a “romantic” Valentine’s Day dinner for the whole family.  The children can help plan the menu, decorate your kitchen or dining room with Valentine’s Day décor and even help prepare the delicious meal.  Red foods will add to the Valentine’s flavor.  Spaghetti with red sauce is something nice and simple kids can help with.  Pair it with a salad.  If you get extra adventurous, you can cut tomatoes or cucumbers into heart shapes.  Want to add some extra flair?  Include candles in the décor and buy a bottle of sparkling grape juice or cider.

spaghetti dinner

Craft Homemade Valentines Cards or Dinner Décor – Let the kids make their own Valentine’s Day cards or even their own decorations for the Family Dinner.  Provide a stack of paper in Valentine’s colors with some glitter and stickers and let the kids get creative.

Valentine’s Day Munchies – Instead of all the candy and junk food, make some Valentine’s Day trail mix for kids and parents alike to snack on.  You can even use it for an appetizer during your dinner.  You can add anything that your kids like to eat, but for a few suggestions use dried fruit or raisins, healthy cereals and nuts.  For a little bit of color (or maybe just a tiny bit of holiday sugar) add a few handfuls of Valentine’s Day M&Ms.  Just make sure the kids don’t pick those out and eat them all first!

Read and Act Out Valentine’s Day Books – There are tons of great children’s books out there with Valentine’s Day themes.  Spend the afternoon reading together.  Or take your favorite Valentine’s Day story and have the children make it into a play.  It would make great dinner entertainment!

Valentine Books

Dessert – What’s better for dessert than sweet and delicious fruit.  You can make the fruit extra fun by cutting some of it into heart shapes and adding skewers.  The fruit skewers can be eaten plain or with a dip made out of yogurt.  Add a few drops of red food coloring if using plain yogurt.

You’ll make some super sweet Valentine’s Day memories that your kids will be talking about all year!

Tips for Traveling with Sensory Sensitive Children

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Are We There Yet?!

Summer is here and it inevitably brings a season of travel – family weddings out of town, vacations to the beach or amusement parks.  As parents, it is always a challenge to plan entertainments for children, but parents of sensory sensitive children have added challenges.  When traveling with your children, remember these tips to help vacations and other trips go smoothly.  Bon Voyage!

  • Plan Ahead and Rehearse Your Trip – Make a detailed itinerary and make sure your children understand each leg of the journey. Rehearse parts of the trip that may give your children moments of anxiety.  Take your child on short, practice runs on car trips, or visit the airport ahead of time.  Walk through the airport and point out things to your child and watch some planes take off and land.
  • Travel With Help – Another family member or support person will be invaluable to any parent traveling with children, but especially with sensory challenged kids. The old adage “two heads are better than one” definitely applies here.  When things get rough, having an extra person available who can help with baggage, check-ins or even truck-stop bathroom breaks will help things go more smoothly.
  • Give Yourself Extra Time – If you’re not in a hurry, the trip will be more enjoyable for all – kids included. Make sure you arrive early for flights.  Leave early for car trips also so that you can plan to stop several times to stretch your legs.
  • Check into Accommodations for Children – If using commercial transportation, call ahead to see what accommodations are in place for children. Take advantage of anything that may be helpful in keeping your children comfortable and entertained.
  • Travel During Sleep Times – Many children have an easier time traveling while they sleep. If possible, plan to leave at night or when your kids are used to taking naps.
  • Bring Extra Clothes – Easy access to an extra set of clothes for each child will make getting through any mishaps easier and stress free. Bring a couple extra pairs of SmartKnitKIDS socks since they can sometimes disappear quicker than larger articles of clothing.
  • Bring Toys – Pack several small sensory input toys that will keep your children’s attention for longer periods of time. Choose things that are easy to pack and pick up, but also things that your children already enjoy.  Good examples are Rubix Cubes, rubber band balls and Play-Doh.
  • Electronic Devices – Tablets, phones or other electronic devices provide touch, visual and audio input for children. Remember a set of headphones and a pair of sunglasses to help those sensitive to bright light.  Download age-appropriate games ahead of time, or make sure your data plan will be sufficient for your entire trip.  You can also bring along a data hotspot.
  • Pack Snacks – Plan to bring some healthy snacks. Chewable and high-protein snacks like licorice and beef jerky are great choices, but you should plan things that each child will prefer and enjoy.
  • Remain Calm – Don’t let yourself get discouraged with minor setbacks. Take each day in stride and enjoy your trip as best as you can.

Reward yourself for a mission accomplished and announce to your kids, “We are there!”  Maybe it will even be before they have asked, “Are we there yet?!”

Sensory Spring Sweepstakes!



Congratulations to Shirley Martin-Tutolo for winning the $500 gift card to Sensory Craver !

How Do I Enter? “Like” SmartKnitKIDS on Facebook to access the Sensory Spring Sweepstakes tab. After you submit the required information, you will be instantly entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card to SensoryCritters.com!

What Do I Do Once the Contest Is Over? The winner announcement will take place on Monday, April 28th on our SmartKnitKIDS Facebook page. If your name is posted, you must email us at info@smartknitkids.com to claim your prize within 72 hours or another winner will be chosen.
Contest ends Monday, April 28th. Terms & Conditions.

Congratulations to the Winners of the Valentine’s Day Contest!

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Valentine’s Day Contest and congratulations to our winners, Chrissy and Joyce! Winners have been notified via email and should receive their Knot Genies and gift cards for http://smartknitkids.com/ soon!

Announcing the SmartKnitKIDS Back to “Cool” Giveaway

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4th of July Tips

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If you have a child that is sensitive to the festivities on the 4th, you may want to check out these 4th of July Tips!  You can either opt to opt-out of traditional 4th of July festivities, plan ahead and attend or try a mixture of both.

  1. Start a new tradition of fireworks watched on TV (muted) with soothing background music or another activity of your choosing.  The object is to make the day special in celebration of the birth of the U.S.A!  Try noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs if the boom of the fireworks are heard inside too.
  2. Definitely bring some security items if going out to see fireworks: favorite/special toy, heavy blanket, etc.  Leaving before dark can help ease into the event as well.
  3. Talk about the day’s activities with your child to prepare them for all of the people, sounds and sights.  But don’t over-do it – it’s possible to over-prepare and turn the 4th of July into anxiety.
  4. Have your child get some rest the day before and the day of the 4th of July.  You don’t want to over do it and lessen their chance of being able to cope with the holiday.  This means possibly skipping the swimming pool during the day or going to bed on time the night before.Try to go about your normal routine as best possible without too much change. Routine is comforting.
  5. Reassure your child that there are safe places to go – the car, the restroom, the restaurant down the street or even home if the nervousness gets too hard to handle.
  6. This is not the time to try to “desensitize” them to noise.  Make sure to follow your child’s lead and anticipate their needs as best you can.

Do you have any tried & true tips for coping with the 4th of July?

Did I mention that all SmartKnitKIDS products are 100% made in the USA?  Happy Independence Day!