My mom hated Monopoly. It was a game that in her mind we asked to play too much and took too much time to play.
So one day she declared that Monopoly could not be played in our house except for on New Year’s Day. And thus began the tradition that as kids we would celebrate ringing in the new year by playing Monopoly all day long.
And I looked forward to it for 364 days.
So while typical tradition that transpires on January first involved black-eyed peas and making resolutions, our was something fun, exciting, and full of anticipation.
Now that I have my own kids, I want that kind of excitement for them, even when they are toddlers. And celebrating the New Year with toddlers doesn’t have to be boring. You also don’t have to deal with toddlers that are cranky from trying to stay up all night. Take the time to do something fun so that they feel included and so you and your spouse can enjoy a bit of downtime that night.
How to Celebrate the New Year with Toddlers
Toddlers are easily excitable and they enjoy any excuse to have a party. While staying up until midnight may be impossible for their small bodies, there are ways to celebrate the New Year. You may even get to enjoy a bit of downtime with your spouse.
Watch People Around the World Celebrate
Many of the big news stations show people celebrating the New Year all around the world. That means that every hour throughout the day, your kids can watch a different area of the world celebrate. It’s not only a great way to help them get the excitement out of their system, but to experience different cultures. Get party hats and sparkling juice and celebrate throughout the day.
Have an Early Celebration
Another great idea is to have an early celebration with the kids. Help your little ones set goals for the New Year, like giving up their sippy cups or brushing their teeth without being told. You can also talk about what they’re excited for in the New Year. Have small snacks the kids enjoy along with a cake or cupcakes to celebrate.
Set the Clocks Forward
If your kids are insistent on staying up to ring in the New Year, set the clocks forward while the kids aren’t looking. You can then ring in the New Year at 7 or 8PM and send the kids off to bed. If they’ve been celebrating all day long, they won’t have any trouble falling asleep.
In fact, Netflix has a New Year countdown you can use to help add to the fun without letting on that the time is different. For us in Boston where the sun goes down around 4, it’s almost like 8pm is midnight anyway.
Finally, Do Something Quiet and Romantic with Your Spouse
Last, but not least, make time for you and your spouse. So maybe you’re trying to get out the door together to a real midnight party, but if not, your night can sill be just as memorable. You can make your own private party at home. Curl up in front of the TV to watch the countdown or listen to some soft music with candlelight.
Most importantly, don’t forget the New Year’s kiss.
More great New Year’s Day & winter ideas
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!