4 Tips for Celebrating New Year’s Eve with Little Kids

how to make the evening fun when you have little kids celebrating the end of the year with you!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds

We’re spending this New Year’s Eve with my sister Merrick and her family in California.

(Last year we celebrated with an 11-hour drive through Texas to Alabama, so this is definitely a step up).

how to make the evening fun when you have little kids celebrating the end of the year with you!

Since between the two of us we have five kids under the age of six, I’ve been thinking about celebrating the end of 2015 and ringing in 2016 with small children.

If you’re celebrating at home with little kids too, here are some of my tips for making it a fun and special evening without making you or your kids crazy either that night or the next morning.

how to make the evening fun when you have little kids celebrating the end of the year with you!

1. Don’t go too late. Your children might be night owls, but mine are definitely not. Ani is the child who will go put herself to bed at 6:45 after a busy day, so the idea of letting them stay up until midnight has zero appeal. We’ll let them stay up a little past their bedtime, but hopefully all of them will be totally zonked out by nine p.m. I have zero interest in starting the new year with crabby, over-tired children. Also, I like to end every night, even the last one of the year, without children.

2. Pick one or two activities. You know those New Year’s parties you see on Pinterest with activities to do every hour or half-hour? Those make me want to go take a nap. No way am I coming up with that many activities. I like the idea of one or two simple things, whether it’s watching a movie as a family, a dance party or playing a few games. No need to make it overly complicated.

3. Choose treats that aren’t super sugary. By the end of the holiday season, I feel like the empty-sugar train has been going strong for many many weeks and my children (and me!) are just totally saturated. Adding super-sweet desserts to the evening means it is harder for kids to go to bed and also means wired children and upset tummies. I like a small spread of more substantial snacks that are still fun, like these Honey Roasted Almonds from Blue Diamond which our whole family loves
how to make the evening fun when you have little kids celebrating the end of the year with you!

4. Get a few celebratory items. I’m skipping the confetti (because who wants to clean that stuff up?) but I love some fun party hats, party blowers, and sparkling cider. They take virtually no effort and they really add to the celebratory feel of the evening. I also love these mini flutes from World Market (they are actually cordial glasses, but they are a smaller size and a little bit sturdier than a real champagne flute, so they are perfect for little hands).

How do you ring in the New Year with small children? And more importantly, Happy New Year!

how to make the evening fun when you have little kids celebrating the end of the year with you!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Kristin @ Going Country December 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I can't handle anything about New Year's Eve, and our tradition is foir New Year's Day anyway. My mom is from New Orleans and they have the southern tradition of a New Year's Day dinner of pork for health, greens for wealth, and black-eyed peas for happiness. So every New Year's Day, we have a big holiday dinner of pork, greens, black-eyed peas, rice, and cornbread. It makes me feel connected to my own family to make this dinner anywhere I am, knowing that they're making it too wherever they are.

  • Reply Beth December 30, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    My kids were more night owls, and staying up to 9 PM was definitely doable. So we'd stay up to watch the ball drop in New York, and then bang pots, and then send them to bed. There was also a family tradition of card games, mostly forms of blackjack, with nuts for betting. Hey, counting to twenty one is educational!

    For New Years day we had the cake with treasures cooked inside, but that's probably safer for the school aged crowd.

  • Reply Cecilia Onorati December 31, 2015 at 1:56 am

    In Argentina it is very common to have our children up to 10 pm or more. Luckily, my toddler has energy only to 9 or 9.30 pm as latest! But the New Years Eve is different… it is very difficult to send him to bed because he wants to keep on playing with his elder cousins. We eat a lot for dinner, a lot for dessert time and a lot when we make the toast. By midnight, anyone can move from their chair jajajaja

  • Reply april January 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    We played a number of boardgames and video games and the kids lasted until midnight (ages 5 and 7). *I* did not. I went to bed at 11:15 and hurray 2016!

  • Reply Kristi January 9, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I kept meaning to organize some kind of New Years party this year, but never quite pulled it off. My kids are getting bigger now (11, 8 and 6) and wanted to stay up until midnight. I quickly made a little schedule, with different activities every 20 minutes or so starting at 6:30PM(some taking up two or three blocks, like…dinner, and one was an episode of a tv show). I literally threw it together in two minutes, one activity was a dance party, another was playing Bounce Off, another was playing skip-bo, another was a snack break, not intense stuff. Anyway, all this is to say that the best idea ever was giving each kid a block of time to choose what to do. So I did "Ivy's Choice" and "Ben's Choice" etc. It was by far the highlight of the night! Ivy chose to host a party in her room, there were three stations( a game, coloring, and I think another game?), Ben chose to do a "show" with some lego starwars thing he had made (like, basically, we sat and watched him play legos), and Gwen used our balloons and made up a series of "keep it off the floor" games. You probably had to be there but it was one of the most fun nights our family has had, and it reduced my planning. Live up those NYE when your kids go to bed early, it was so weird/fun/exhausting to have three kids up that late, and we did pay, ever so dearly, the next day 😉

  • Leave a Reply