Another year is almost over… Christmas has been and we’ve all breathed a sigh of relief. And then there’s New Year!  I’ve never been a particularly boisterous celebrator of the end of the year and having kids certainly hasn’t helped. So whether you’re used to kicking up your heels or just keen to chill and mark the passing of another year, we’ve got some ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids. We’d also love to hear your ideas so do leave some comments at the bottom of this post.

For those who are planning a night out with the kids:

There’s fun (and peace) in groups 

When we were kids, we spent plenty of time entertaining ourselves with other kids while our parents celebrated. If you’re planning on taking your kids to a New Year’s celebration, it may pay to make sure that there are going to be other kids around. This will make it easier for you and your kids! If there’s aren’t going to be other kids there, maybe you could take some of your children’s friends along for the night.

Take supplies 

There’s not much that will make your kids crabbier than lack of food and drink. If you take plenty of refreshments with you, you can be sure that the kids won’t run out of sustenance.

Choose venues that are ‘child friendly’ 

There’s no point in taking your kids somewhere where they aren’t welcome – no one is going to have a good night if that is the case. Some New Year’s Eve events just aren’t suitable for kids – there could be too much drink,  inappropriate behaviour or other inappropriate circumstances involved or it could just be a AO event. If in doubt, check ahead that your kids will be welcome and that the venue will be appropriate.

Take some bedding 

For younger, or even older children, taking some bedding along can be a life saver. It means that if your children start to fade, you can pop them in a quiet room and continue your night, checking on them periodically.

The entertainment 

I don’t want to tell you something you already know, but kids without activities can get into trouble 😉 ! A great way to ensure that everyone has a good night is to make sure that there’s some entertainment for the kids as well as the adults. An Xbox or Playstation or a stash of games or movies can be a good way to keep kids out of mischief.

For a night in:

For some of you, New Year’s Eve will pass just like any other night. However, if you’re staying in and want some fun ways to mark the end of the year, here are some ideas for you.

Games, games, games!

Kids love games and it’s a super-fun way to spend an evening. Even quite young children can grasp simple games like Snakes and Ladders or Snap and there are loads of more complicated games like Risk and Settlers of Catan that will keep older children engaged for hours. Games like Charades and Pictionary can be excellent for the whole family. If you love games check out some board games sites for inspiration and perhaps start a New Year tradition of buying a new game for the family.

Game stations like XBox and Playstation also provide an endless source of games and don’t be afraid to get your jiggy on and dance like it’s 1999…

Food, glorious food…

You don’t need to wait until midnight to have a celebration. How about a special dinner of supper? You could let your children choose the menu or have a special food for the night- a fondue is excellent fun.  I often feel like I (and my kids) eat lots of junk food this time of year and delicious food doesn’t need to be bad for you. How about a great big summer fruit salad or homemade popcorn for a movie?

It takes a village

Celebrations like New Year’s Eve can be fantastic reason to connect with the people who live around you. How about inviting your neighbours to drop in for a visit? You don’t have to party until midnight – even a couple of hours can be enough to get to know some more people in your ‘hood.

Don’t be afraid…

… to just go to bed 😉 After all, it is just another night in the end and the sun will keep on rising. It can be enough to watch a good movie, read a great book, have a relaxing bath and head off to Nod!

A quick word of caution about celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids:

Celebrating New Year's Eve with kids

Look – I certainly don’t want to be a party-pooper here but please do remember three things this New Year’s Eve:

  1. Your kids watch everything you do. If you think you’re going to behave in a way that you wouldn’t want your kids to see, arrange for them to be somewhere else. Get a babysitter, call in the grandparents, whatever it takes.
  2. It’s your responsibility to keep your kids safe. If you think that there might be something that puts your kids at risk, don’t put them in that situation. Similarly, be clear who is taking responsibility for the children while you are out and about. If you’re not fit to, make sure that someone else will.
  3. The law has recently changed and you cannot give under 18s alcohol unless you have the explicit permission of their parents. Don’t get caught out.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids can be great fun and your children may end up with memories that last a lifetime. A bit of planning and thought can ensure that they’re awesome memories for all. Do share your New Year’s Eve ideas below – we’d love to hear them!

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Rochelle is mum to three gorgeous daughters. She wishes she had more time to garden and read the newspaper in peace!

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