10 Tips for Hosting a Sensory-Friendly BBQ on the 4th of July
J Julia DeNey

10 Tips for Hosting a Sensory-Friendly BBQ on the 4th of July

Jun 28, 2024

The 4th of July can be overwhelmed for autistic kids and adults. Like any holiday, it is a change in routine which can cause a lot of anxiety. The 4th of July also comes in certain traditions that can be dysregulating from food to fireworks. Here are a few tips to help make your holiday more successful for everyone!

 

1. Consider your food options: Be mindful of food allergies or sensitivities and provide a variety of sensory-friendly food options. Include plenty of their safe foods and snacks you know they'll love (even if they aren't the "typical" 4th of July BBQ food!)

 

2. Provide a sensory break area: Designate a quiet and cool space away from the main event as a safe space to regulate and take a break from sensory overload without having to leave. This space can include calming sensory tools, an iPad, or favorite books.

 

3. Sensory-friendly activities: Offer activities that cater to different sensory needs, such as a quiet craft area, water play, a trampoline, and sensory bins.

 

7. Provide sensory tools: Offer sensory tools like noise-cancelling headphones or fidget toys to help guests manage their sensory needs.

 

8. Create a social story: Your child may benefit from a social story that explains the event and what to expect. This should include the schedule for the day (as it will be different than a usual day!), where the sensory break space is, safe foods provided, and awareness of any triggers that can arise. This can help reduce anxiety throughout the day.

 

9. Firework accommodations: Fireworks can be very difficult for those with noise sensitivity. Ensure there is a place inside where they can go to watch from the window (or not!) and provide tools to help, from sound-reducing headphones and hoodies to their favorite calming sensory toys.

 

10. Is it okay to break traditions: Your day can look different from others. That's okay! The most important thing is to ensure everyone is happy and their needs are met.  

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