How to Have a Great New Year’s Eve with Kids

New Year’s Eve often has connotations with staying up late, partying, maybe cutting loose and getting a little crazy to ring in the new year, and having to find a sitter or else not going out or celebrating the New Year festivities.

But just because you have kids doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate in style! Here are a few ways to celebrate the end of the old and the beginning of the new with the family:

1. Have a special dinner (or dessert)

Any special occasion is a great excuse for a special meal (or dessert!). Fire up the oven, bring the kids in to help – even the youngest ones can help lick the bowl or make a fine mess with flour-y hands all over the place! Whip up a special meal to commemorate the calendar change – whether for your family that means a fancy meal of 4 courses that you wouldn’t normally do, or a simple box of Kraft Mac and Cheese that you wouldn’t normally do, make it something different and memorable to mark the occasion. Alternatively, no one’s going to say no to a New Year’s treat like cookies or cake or brownies that have been baking in the oven all day, ready to be broken into at midnight (or whatever your family’s equivalent will be!).

2. Let the kids stay up

Of course you’re a great parent whose kids have a solid routine and optimized schedule for their health and well-being. But if they want to (and can manage it physically), maybe consider letting the kids stay up with you just for this one occasion. It can be a lot of fun to cozy up under blankets with mugs of hot cocoa and marshmallows in hand, all bundled up together to watch the famous ball drop over Times Square in New York City – or any of the local or other equivalents around the country or world! Alternatively, if the kids can’t manage to stay awake that late, or you just don’t want them to because the consequences will be too great the next day, you can decide that the new year starts at bedtime instead of midnight, and watch the ball drop from a previous year (or earlier that evening, with the time change) on YouTube instead and enjoy a similar experience earlier in the night. When the ball drops, it’s bedtime, kids! If only every night’s bedtime could be so exciting an event!

3. Have a party with other friends with kids

Of course, one of the best options if you have kids but want to have a night with friends is to hang out with friends who also have kids! Have a party with your other parent-friends, and set up the living room with blankets, sheets, pillows, and sleeping bags so the kids can have a blast making a blanket fort that they can (possibly inevitably) fall asleep in while waiting for the ball to drop and midnight to strike. You can set up games, fun snacks and treats, buffet-style easy food or pizza, and put on some music or a movie for the kids while you chat and hang out with your adult friends. This way, no one has to hire a sitter, miss out on seeing friends and some adult time, OR be away from the family. Everyone wins!

Whatever you end up doing, have a very Happy New Year!

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