Sensory-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration Tips for Your Family
New Year’s Eve is a special time to celebrate and reflect upon the past year and plan for the upcoming year. For most, New Year’s Eve is about family and spending time with loved ones.
Being a parent of a child who has autism shouldn’t make your celebrations any less special. There’s no need to keep your party hats and sequined outfits hidden away, so grab your party materials as we share ideas on how you and your family can enjoy ringing in 2023 together and in a sensory-friendly manner.
Here are some tips to help you have an enjoyable New Year’s Eve with the entire family:
Instead of Midnight, Countdown to Noon
Depending on your child’s age, they’re most likely not staying up until midnight to see the ball drop or celebrate the stroke of midnight. Why not change it up so they CAN participate in a countdown? This is where celebrating a Countdown to Noon can enable your child to be part of the celebrations without staying up past their bedtime.
Have a Small & Quiet Balloon or Confetti Drop
You can create a balloon or confetti drop to celebrate the moment as part of your countdown to noon event. Here’s how: Grab a drawstring trash bag; Fill the bag with balloons, confetti, streamers, or all the above, and Release the bag at the end of the countdown. This gives your child a fun way to celebrate, just like being at a loud, exciting party — without the loudness and potential sensory overload.
Family Movie Night
Consider a calm movie night if you believe it’s better for your child to skip the traditional festivities and avoid loud noises from fireworks, strangers, and other distractions. Grab some hot cocoa, popcorn, a weighted blanket, or your favorite snack of choice, and pick one of your family’s favorite movies. Some of our favorites for ages 3+: Rudolph’s Shiny New Year; Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne; Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year; Sesame Street Celebrates Around the World; and Happy New Year Charlie Brown!
Instead of In-Person, Watch Videos of Fireworks
There will be many channels showing entertainment acts and fireworks. Consider viewing recordings of fireworks with your child. In that way, you can control what your child sees and, ultimately, hears, too – and at the visual pace and volume that’s most comfortable for them. Here are examples of sensory-friendly fireworks videos with calming ambient music: https://youtu.be/JaBjGLWk_GE; https://youtu.be/Zrdd5Cryalo.
Regardless of how you choose to ring in 2023, as long as you’re with your child, family, and friends, it will be special. Happy New Year from all of us here at Opya!