Ring in 2008, kid-style

Maybe you’re headed out on the town tonight, in which case I say: Good for you. For me, my days of elegant New Year’s Eve soirĂ©es ended with the birth of my first child. I know it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way, but the truth is that I don’t really miss being out amongst a lot of drunk people. Staying home suits me just fine.

It can be a challenge, though, to make it a memorable night when you have kids. When they’re very little, it’s easy enough to put them to bed and then toast the new year in front of the television. The only problem with that is that such young children generally rise at the crack of dawn… making it a very early (and grumpy) morning to greet the new year.

So how can the whole family enjoy the night? Well, we’ve done various things with our kids. I’m a big fan of the New Year’s Eve movie marathon—the kids relish the opportunity to stay up late, and after a couple of movies back-to-back are usually amenable to shuffling off to bed following a quick ginger ale toast. We’ve also done a late-night (and in our family, that doesn’t need to be any later than about 9:30 or so) family game night to bid the year farewell.

I went looking for some new ideas this year, and of course there’s no shortage of brilliant suggestions out there. This article has numerous tips, including setting a clock ahead to make kids feel like they’ve stayed up until midnight. (I’ve never done that, and don’t think I probably would, but for very young children it would be a doable ruse, I think.)

Family Fun magazine highlights some great ideas, including various twists on family albums (asking the same questions each year, for example, and recording the answers for posterity) and spending New Year’s Day doing something new.

And over at Disney’s Family.com they’re talking New Year’s Resolutions. Reading through their lists made me think that I should be thinking less about what I want for the coming year and more about what we as a family should be striving towards together.

Whatever you decide to do with your kids to ring in the new year, I hope it’s a wonderful one. See you in 2008!

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