A Christmas Parade is what I like to call a sensory-rich experience. That’s a term I’ve coined to help explain the opposite of sensory-friendly. Did you know that if you add a quiet zone to your Santa Claus Parade, you will attract many more people to your parade? Parades are known for loud music, bright, flashing lights, notwithstanding the extra hustle and bustle that accompanies Santa.
But for many children; including children with anxiety, autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, learning disability, sensory processing disorder, and seizure many other disabilities, the excitement of seeing Santa Claus plus the added noise and lights and crowds is just too much. In fact, for many children, without an underlying disability, Santa Claus Parades can be simple be: meltdown madness. And parents and families avoid it. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a crowd with a screaming, crying, inconsolable child. But, it is easy to add a quiet zone to your parade route and in doing so, you offer a sensory-friendly experience for all children and families to enjoy. Help create magical memories at Christmastime for children to enjoy in a few simple steps.
I took the photo below at my local Santa Claus Parade. They’ve been offering a quiet zone for several years now.
To help you make your Christmas Parade sensory-friendly I’ve created an easy to follow check-list that takes you through all the steps. Get the Sensory-Friendly Santa Claus Parade Checklist.
It contains helpful hints like:
People with sensory sensitivities visit our website because we list sensory-friendly experiences for people with all types of disabilities, challenges, and just people who like a little less noise, busy-ness, and bright lights in their life. We are not associated with any single disability that results in a sensory sensitivity but we work towards bringing information to all the people with sensory sensitivity who look for it.
You can learn more about autism, anxiety and sensory overload to understand why introducing sensory-friendly to your parade is especially important for children with autism.
Here are three things you can do to help your child enjoy a Santa Claus Parade whether it has a quiet zone, sensory-friendly zone, or is sensory-rich throughout and the 4th is to choose a sensory-friendly parade if you can!
Did you know you can look for Sensitive Santa at malls across Canada and the United States?
And you can read more about helping your child visit Santa at the mall or Christmas party as well as download a FREE Visiting Santa Story to read, watch or listen to with your child.
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Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.