If you are on the East Coast re-set the clock. If you are on the West, celebrate “New York” New Years!
Do your kids generally go to sleep at 7 or 8 p.m.? Don’t make the little ones have to strain to stay up until midnight. Instead, if you live on the east coast, set your clock forward a couple of hours so that they can still celebrate at mock midnight — they don’t have to know it’s early.
If you are on the west coast, the best way to “ring in the New Year” is to watch the ball drop in Time Square. Your children will get the sense that they are celebrating the end of one year, and the beginning of a new year, but in reality it is only 9 pm and only an hour or so past their regular scheduled bed time.
In both cases, be sure to start preparing your child with autism a few days prior to the new year. Let them know they will be staying up late, prepare them for the ball drop, the noise makers they may hear on TV, or fireworks they may see. Create a story about the New Years celebration so that they know what to expect and are happily anticipating a new beginning.
Head to the kitchen
Cooking with your child on the spectrum can be a lot of fun. Get them involved by asking them if they want to bake cookies, make their favorite meal, or bake a cake…whatever it is, use the hours leading up to midnight to prepare something special with your child to enhance their New Years celebration.
Toast with sparkling cider
At midnight, pour a round of sparkling cider into plastic champagne glasses. Toast the New Year with your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, and reflect on all your blessings from the last year.
Create a memory book
New Year’s Eve is a great time for crafting and scrapbooking. Have your child with autism help put together an album or memory book of all the fun activities and events your family experienced in the last year. Include pictures, drawings and ideas from each family member, no matter how little. Make a new book every year on New Year’s Eve — you’ll treasure them for years to come.
Now that you have a plan in place to create a memorable and festive New Years celebration with your child on the spectrum, we know that your evening will be much more meaningful than any party, club or gathering you may have gone to in previous years.
All of us at Beautiful Minds Center want to wish you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. May your homes be filled with laughter and your hearts be filled with love.
Here’s to a fantastic new decade! Happy 2020.