New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are a great time to reminisce on the year that just passed, look forward to the one ahead, and have fun with friends and family. But because the festivities tend to happen on and around midnight, it’s easy for children to get left out of many of the traditions and celebrations that make the day special. Thankfully, there are a lot of great ways you can make the day eventful even for the youngest members of your family.
Here are six child-friendly ways to celebrate the new year before bedtime rolls around.
- Make a Joy Jar
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions gives us a way to take the time to look forward to the coming year. But it’s also important to think back on the year that just passed. Making and keeping a joy jar is a great way of doing just that.
It’s simple: all you need to do is keep a jar for all of the moments that bring you joy throughout the year. Starting on January 1st, whenever something happens that is memorable and gives you joy, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. On December 31st, open the jar and read the slips of paper with your family. It’s guaranteed to make everyone smile, laugh, and feel grateful (and enjoy its proven benefits).
- Ring in the “Noon” Year
It’s a shame that most children aren’t awake at midnight when they could do some of what they do best: cheer and make noise. Why not include them in all the fun by celebrating the other 12 o’clock and ringing in the “noon” year?
Your noon-time celebration can be as elaborate as throwing a mini party for the little ones or as simple as counting down the last ten seconds before the clock strikes twelve. Either way, it will be great fun for all ages.
It’s also a great opportunity for the parents as well. Those of us who are woken up early by toddlers or kept on our feet all day by school-aged children don’t always have the energy to stay up until midnight. Ringing in the noon year means not having to choose between having fun and getting the sleep we need.
And keep in mind during your noon year celebration that it’s going to be midnight somewhere in the world.
- Celebrate Across Time Zones
Why just celebrate once? Spread the excitement throughout the day by enjoying small festivities every time a new time zone enters 2017.
For added fun, read up on New Year’s customs from around the world and celebrate some of them throughout the day (Wikipedia is a great resource for learning about international New Year’s traditions).
And if you or your kids want to celebrate as many new years as possible, remember to include Nepal and India. Those countries will ring in 2017 at 1:15 pm and 1:30 pm Eastern Standard Time, respectively.
- Drop the Ball
The ball drop in Times Square is the most iconic feature of New Year’s Eve in North America. But you don’t need to make your way to the crowded event or stay up for the live broadcast. Instead, you can get your whole family involved in recreating the experience on a small scale.
Make a New Year’s Eve ball by decorating a large Styrofoam ball or a beach ball and tape it to the ceiling with a ribbon or string you can cut when the clock strikes twelve. Or hang a paper tablecloth from the ceiling with duct or masking tape and fill it with a dozen balloons. Release it at the end of the countdown.
- New Year’s Themed Crafts
Making and decorating a noise maker early in the day is a great way for children to prepare for the highlight of the day: loudly ringing in the new year—or, the noon year! This blog post has simple instructions for Montessori-inspired New Year’s busy bins, glitter play dough, and noise makers.
- Share Your New Year’s Resolutions
According to Statistic Brain, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions on most years. If you’re one of them, consider sharing and discussing your resolutions with your children. Not only will this introduce them to the tradition, but showing them what you care about will help strengthen their own sense of values.
Childhood is a time of discovery and growth, and sharing your resolutions can give them comfort by letting them know they’re not the only ones who don’t have everything figured out. Discovering your resolutions will teach them that even though we can’t always get everything right, what matters most is that we keep striving to learn, improve, and be respectful and kind.
Happy New Year!
However you decide to celebrate the coming of 2017, finding a way to include everyone in the festivities is a surefire way to start the new year on a happy and loving note.