celebrating new year's eve with special needs children

Celebrating New Year’s Eve With Special Needs Children


So, here we are! It’s the end of the year, and another year comes.


Many parents ask us about holiday celebrations, especially New Year’s and New Year’s Eve.


Will you be home or go out?


New Year’s is a holiday where you need to be mindful of parameters and expectations. New Year’s can be great if you’re hanging out at home and making it a holiday event, where you are mindful of your child’s needs. But if you’re going to go out you will need to have a plan and be prepared.


Preparation is the key


Often we go through life thinking that we’ll just deal with problems when we come to them, but that is not usually the most effective method with our kiddos. You might notice that whenever I’m asked about these topics I tend to say the same things. That’s because from my experience, and from the experiences of the many kids and parents I’ve worked with, it comes down to the same thing over and over: preparation is key! It really helps if you think ahead about what might be difficult for your child and make a plan for how to handle those things. This will make events much more pleasant for everyone. It’s also more difficult for your typically-developing kids if they have to deal with all kinds of behavior because we parents didn’t plan for what might happen.


Sleep schedules


Typically New Year’s Eve is a late night, and often our kids get pretty cranky after about 9:30 pm. If we keep them up very late, they’re cranky into the next day. Be prepared, and think about sleep schedules!




If you’re going to go out to dinner and you have a child who is a picky eater, prepare for them in advance. Will you need to bring food that you know they’ll eat? Can you look at the menu ahead of time?


How will you leave if you need to?


Anything you go to, always make sure you have a very simple, easy way to escape. I love going to the movies these days because you can pick your seat! I can make sure that I’m on an aisle and can leave easily if we need to, without disrupting everyone else’s time.


Tag team


You may even tag team, and have one parent be the one who escapes while the other stays with the other kids. We have families who do that all the time, where one parent goes to the car with the child who is melting down, while the other one stays and finishes the event or activity with the other kids. This is a very typical scenario in my life, and in the lives of many of our families here.


Outdoor events


Sometimes we are going to ceremonies that are outdoors. For these events, we have to think about the time and the weather, along with thinking about our kids’ schedules.


In conclusion


So when you think about New Year’s Eve, I have the same advice for you that I have for any holiday: make a plan in advance! Think about how late it is, how much preparation you’ll need. Ask yourself, do I need to have food? Do I need to have an escape route planned? Do we need to take two cars? When you’re prepared, everyone can have a good time and you’re not having to make decisions in a panic, which only brings about frustration.


I hope you all have a great New Year. We are so excited about what next year will bring!

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