You’ve been to one New Year’s Eve party, you’ve been to ’em all. But celebrating a new year with your children is truly the way to start the year right. Here are some ideas for making this New Year’s Eve one that you and your children will remember for a lifetime.
If your children are very small, move the festivities to an earlier time. Most two-year-olds are not capable of staying awake until midnight and even if they can, they often shouldn’t. Instead, celebrate the new year just after dinner. Here are some ideas that are fun for those under 5:
- Sip sparkling cider out of the fancy champagne glasses you never use for anything. So what if they get broken? If you can’t bear the thought of potential destruction, then plastic versions can be purchased at party supply stores.
- Count down from ten and then whoop and holler and let the kids make noise banging pans or whatever else you have on hand.
- Dole out lots of hugs and kisses and wishes for a happy new year.
- Sing a favorite song.
Elementary Aged Children
By the time kids reach elementary school, celebrations can take on more meaning. This is the time to start new traditions, such as:
- The year in review, where each family member shares their favorite memory from the year before.
- Resolutions for a new year, where each family member talks about one thing they’d like to change. Try to encourage children to make these deeper than minor habits that need changed. For example, instead of making a resolution to not eat chocolate, why not make a resolution to help at least one person a month and give back to society.
- Kids this age can stay up a little later, but midnight might still be pushing it. Allow kids to stay up a little later to make the night special, but still ring in the new year early, just as you would for younger children.
- Party poppers and fireworks can make the night exciting too.
Pre-teens and Teens
Kids this age are finally able to stay up until midnight. However, teens now want to spend all of their time with friends and may no longer be into family celebrations. Why not bring the party to your house? Allow your kids to invite several friends each, stock up on tons of snacks (teens can eat a lot!) and let the kids plan the party. If they need ideas for activities, try:
- Have a Guitar Hero play-off and award the grand champion a funny prize.
- Host a dance off.
- Play music (let the kids pick it).
- Play games, like Mafia and Sardines (hide and seek with the lights off or outside). A note of caution here. If you have a mixed group of boys and girls, make them play in pairs of boys and boys and girls and girls to avoid any five minutes in the closet type scenarios.
- Talk to the neighbors beforehand and ask if the kids can visit their houses for a New Year’s scavenger hunt. Have them find things associated with the past year, such as a penny minted in that year or a calendar.
- Put on the television just before midnight to watch the ball drop and let everyone scream, “Happy New Year!” Make sure everyone has a safe ride home and that they phone you to let you know they made it safely. Since the roads can be dangerous because of other drivers, you may want to make the party a sleepover, if possible.
However you decide to celebrate, let the kids help plan the festivities. Traditions such as sharing favorite memories will likely make the evening yet another memory they can stockpile away for when they are adults and ready to celebrate holidays with their own children.
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