It’s been 11 days straight since the kids were in school. They’ve had more excitement, sugar and disrupted sleep in the last fortnight than they have in the whole of the rest of the year combined. Your gin supplies are running low and you’ve just waved goodbye to the last of the distant relatives that descended on you for the festive season. What you could do with is a week of uninterrupted sleep. Instead, it’s time for another celebration! New Year’s Eve is often the holiday that promises to go off with a bang, but ends up just fizzling out. So, how can you celebrate the turn of the year when your partying options revolve around your darling kids?
It’s time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids
1. Get a babysitter!
Ok, so this is the obvious one! If your kids aren’t that into New Year, they don’t need you to stick around through the night, and you’ve got the money, energy and inclination to head out for New Year’s Eve, treat yourself and do it! You’ll probably need to book ahead for next year now!
2. Pretend it’s a normal night
There’s no law saying you’ve got to do anything special for New Year’s Eve! If you can barely muster enough energy to get dressed, let alone anything else (hi, parents of newborns and non-sleeping toddlers!) then give yourself permission to let New Year’s Eve slide past like every other day. You can think about doing something special next year, just take the pressure off for this year.
3. Let the kids stay up all night
No matter what routines you usually stick to, New Year’s Eve might be one of the few nights of the year it’s ok to throw them out. Your kids will think it’s such a treat to be able to stay up past bedtime that you could use it as an incentive for good behaviour for the rest of the holidays! Check out Pinterest for more kid-friendly party games than you can shake a party-blower at.
“We always had a huge party with family and friends all crowded round the big table. 12 courses, one for every month of the year with poems and songs in between – my daughter and I had a wonderful time planning this. It’s not quite like this now, but I have many years of happy New Years to remember and eighty of them to look back on!” Brigid, mum, grandma and great-grandma
4. Celebrate two midnights
If you’ve got little ones who want to celebrate New Year, but just don’t have the energy to stay awake until actual midnight, why not do some time travelling and bring midnight forward?
“For the last five years we have gone to our friends’ house who have twins who are now 6 years old. We play party games and have party food in the afternoon then countdown to midnight and sing Auld Lang Syne at 8pm. The kids go to bed and we play more grown-up party games and drink more bubbles and count down again at midnight. When they grow up, I think the kids will be convinced they stayed up until midnight when they were tiny!” Hetty, godmother of two
5. Go with tradition
Wherever you live, whatever your family background, there’ll probably be loads of New Year traditions you could honour on New Year’s Eve. In Scotland and Northern England, the tradition of first-footing calls for a tall, dark and handsome man to be the first person to walk into the house after midnight to ensure good luck for the coming year. If he’s carrying coal, shortbread, salt or whiskey, all the better! In Spain, it’s good luck to eat 12 grapes as the last 12 seconds count down to midnight. In Ireland, it’s common to bang bread against the walls of your house to chase bad luck away and let the good luck in. If you don’t celebrate any of these traditions in your family yet, you could ask your older family members or friends if they can remember any that your could adopt this year. Or even make your own up if you’re feeling creative!
“My dad always used to go outside just before midnight to welcome in the New Year. And bring some coal when he came back in! And Old Father Tyme used to leave the children a gift.” Sara, mum of 2
6. Get crafty
You don’t need to stay up until midnight or do fireworks to ring in the New Year with little ones. If you spend the afternoon crafting, it’ll be just as memorable for your kids as it means you get to spend quality time together. From a homemade balloon drop and star garlands to noisemakers and a wishing tree, you can choose crafts and activities to suit your kids’ personalities.
“When I was a kid, my brothers and I all made homemade noise-makers and shook them at midnight with our parents while we listened to the countdown on the radio.” Steph, mum of 2
7. Take the same photos every New Year’s Eve
This is a lovely way to mark the turning of the year without having the potential stress of organising a big party. It could be as simple as lining the family up on the couch and taking a single shot. Or you could visit the same favourite local spot every year and take a pic there. To mix it up, you could set the kids a bit of a scavenger hunt by giving them a list of things they take a picture of every year like their favourite toy, their favourite place, their favourite food. It’ll be fascinating to look back as the years go by and see how your family grows.
8. Make New Year’s resolutions
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we probably all wish we had more time to reflect on the good things in life. So why not take New Year as a great opportunity to teach your kids the value of celebrating the best bits of the year past and planning for more success in the year to come? For adults, the whole New Year’s resolutions thing can sometimes get bogged down in negativity, thinking about the things you lacked or failed at – losing weight or quitting a bad habit, for example. You can put a positive spin on resolutions for everyone by asking them to write down their biggest achievement and favourite memory from the year just gone and something they hope to achieve and a big wish for the year ahead. You could even put them in an envelope and keep them safe to open next New Year’s Eve.
Capture the celebrations on camera
New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity for making special memories with your family. And Lifecake is a baby photo app to help you save, share and remember them. Discover the easiest, safest way to share photos with family or read more tips about bringing positivity into your family’s life for the year ahead with our blog, The importance of teaching kindness to kids.