So it is New Year’s Eve and what are you and your Exceptional Family doing? Are you hunkering down at home, going to a party at a friend’s house or hosting a party yourself? However you choose to celebrate, remember that you know your family best, your child best, and don’t be afraid to do what is good for you, fine tune what is necessary, and I know, I know it’s hard, but STAY CALM and IN THE MOMENT when you make your decision about how you want to celebrate. This is how we decide what we are going to do every year in our family, and through trial and error, just like on other days of the year, we have learned what works and what does not. Don’t let anyone else guide your decision, unless it’s your child because remember parents, if they are not happy, neither will you be. 🙂
I have come up with the following list of questions I ask myself before undertaking any experiences with Michael on this tough day of the year. I hope this list helps you in your decision on how to spend the last day of 2015:
Joanne’s List of How To Handle New Year’s Eve The Exceptional Way:
- Are we in the mood as a family to go out and for how long? This is an important one to ask. Sometimes a short outing to a friend’s can be a great experience, sometimes not so great. See how rested, calm and excited the family is to step outside of their comfort zone.
- Bring your sensory bag with you or have it nearby at home: This one is essential as it contains your child’s calming toys and games when they feel out of their element. For us it includes headphones, coloring book, chewie/clinker (clinking is the shaking motion Michael does with said chewie hence the name), gum, squeeze ball/ toy etc.
- Organizing food and activities, preparation for what will be happening and what to do if anxiety happens: We try and prepare Michael for parties by talking about what will happen, who will be there, what food we will eat, and ALWAYS remind him that if he is feeling overwhelmed, anxious to come to us, tap us on shoulder and we will calmly leave. If he doesn’t we will still leave, but the exit may need to be abrupt.
- Deciding on next day wake up time: This is important as it relates to number 1. You will decide how long to stay at a party pending on your plans on New Year’s Day. For us the next day we go visiting to Michael’s Dad’s side of the family so an early night, or as early as possible is mandatory for success the next day as well.
- Put aside some adult time when kid/s go to sleep for you and your partner: This, no matter how complex or simple, is what has made our New Year’s Eve celebrations go smoothly. Michael’s father and I always manage at least a small chat, cuddle and a glass of champagne each before lights out at midnight or close enough to. Sometimes we even squeeze in a movie. 🙂
However you decide to celebrate New Year’s Eve, remember that it is your decision as the parents to do as little or as much as you want. For our family, we look to Michael as our lead as well as our own energy levels. For today we will be shopping and sledding with friends, so we always allow some downtime at some point in the day to have some energy for evening celebrations of any type. Have fun celebrating in your own Exceptional way tonight and good luck with whatever festivities you embark on. Until next time.