I love New Year’s Eve with my kids. We started letting them stay up as late as they could with the goal of making it to midnight when Claire was three and Alicen was almost six. That first year they made it til about 10:30 p.m..
- Okay, this seems an obvious one, but plan a game night. Break out all your board games and play! Include movement games like Twister and Hullabaloo and party games like charades and pin-the-tail.
- Plan a scavenger hunt.
- Take bubble baths.
- Have a movie night.
- Plan a craft night.
- Hang a disco ball and have a dance party.
- Have the kids plan the menu and help make the meal.
- Instead of dinner have an appetizer night. Make one large appetizer plate per hour.
- Have dessert for dinner. Make it a Sundae Party and provide all the toppings.
- Build a fire in the fire-pit and make s’mores.
- Discuss resolutions and make them as a family.
- Make a pillow fort.
- Have a family slumber party. Bring sleeping bags and pillows to the living room and camp out.
- Have confetti, noise makers and poppers on hands for if they actually make it til midnight (or don’t).
- If they don’t make it to midnight, search “New Year’s ball drop” on Youtube and pick one. You can have the ball drop whenever kids get tired.
Please add your own ideas here!
Thanksgiving day without children can be hectic between travel time, visiting family, cooking and cleaning. Add a seven, four and two-year-old to the mix, and it can feel overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to help with the day:
- Do what you can ahead – This may be baking desserts, making and freezing side dishes the days before or really cleaning the house over the weekend.
- Hire out what you can – I cheat. Each year I have at least one store bought dessert and side dish that I may claim as my own. Not a luxury I have often, but occasionally we have a housecleaning service before the holidays and out of town guests.
- Keep children busy during prep – If you have an extra adult who is available outside the kitchen, have them lead a nature walk or help children to browse toy catalogs to cut and paste a Holiday wish list. If they are really gung-ho, provide a pre-formed ginger bread house with frosting and decorations (left over halloween candy in my house) for the children to make a centerpiece.
- OR Involve them during prep – If they are old enough, include them in the preparations. Children can color placemats, write menus, butter vegetables, knead pie crust, take drink orders and set tables.
- Stick to normal routines – This means mealtimes and naps as much as you can. This can go a long way towards a pleasant day for all.
- Include kid-friendly food – I tend to think traditional Thanksgiving food is pretty kid-friendly. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be sure there will be mashed potatoes or mac and cheese if it’s a favorite.
- Use contribution during the meal – Children love to help. Encourage them to butter rolls, carry plates or refold napkins as needed.
- Discipline in private – To provide a pleasant mealtime for all, step away from the table for discipline.
- Set expectations a bit lower – Remember they are children. It can be a challenging day particularly if they’ve travelled, are not sleeping in their own room or sharing their room with a cousin.