Photo: nightunter via 123RF

As a parent, New Year’s Eve celebrations look a bit different than they did pre-kids. Sure, you can spend lots of money for New Year’s Eve-priced events—if you can find and afford a babysitter, too.

Maybe you have decided it isn’t worth the effort and plan to celebrate with the family this year instead, or you want to host your own family-friendly New Year’s eve party. We’ve gathered some tips on food, activities, New Year’s Resolutions, and more that are all kid-friendly so you can host a family New Year’s Eve event that everyone will be talking about.

Celebrate Early

Even for a family-friendly event, New Year’s Eve is all about the countdown to bringing in the New Year. Since you can’t expect and probably don’t want all the munchkins staying up until Midnight, do the countdown at a more reasonable hour. Take kids’ ages and regular bedtimes into account, and consider allowing them to stay up an hour or two later than usual to make it special. This could be 8, 9, or 10 p.m.

If you are hosting a party, let all your guests know when the countdown will be so they are prepared. Find a past New Year’s Eve celebration online from your local area or a more famous one like the ball drop in New York City. You can also look for videos produced just for kids, like this one made to bring in 2021. Add some fun to the celebration with homemade noisemakers, a toast with fancy glasses, or a balloon drop.

The Dress Code

The other important decision you want to communicate to your guests is what to wear. Do you want to provide an opportunity for everyone to put on the finest clothing? Or do you want to encourage PJs for a relaxing, less fancy event? Dressing up or down can also make your stay-in, family-only New Year’s celebration special.

Festive Food

Any good party has great food. Here are 15 New Year’s Eve Snacks for Kids. These fun and festive ideas put together by kidsactivities.com include mocktails, festive Chex mix, and crescent roll dippers shaped into the year we are welcoming in.

18 Easy Appetizers You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less has fun ideas like mini grilled cheese sandwiches, cinnamon sweet potato fries, or cheese and meat skewers.

Photo: Chayantorn Tongmorn via 123RF

Elegant & Fun Decorations

Leave it to Martha to show us how to make elegant decorations for our party with these      Festive New Year’s Eve Decorations Perfect for Any Party. These New Year’s Crafts – 50 Decoration Ideas to Celebrate in Style include hats guests can wear, wall and table decorations, confetti balloons, and fun party favors.

Keep ‘em Entertained

Keeping the kids occupied until the countdown may take some planning. Ring in the New Year With These Party Games for Kids from thespruce.com provides classic ideas like charades or karaoke, plus some New Year’s-specific ones like Find the Clock and Guess the Resolution. Check out this fun idea of decorating the Christmas tree with balloons filled with prizes!

In addition to games, activities could include:

  • Setting up a dance floor.
  • Setting up a crafts table with some of these New Year’s craft ideas.
  • A photo booth with props.

This brilliant idea of having a planned activity in a bag for each hour could become your next favorite annual tradition!

New Year’s Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions has many benefits for your kids, including self-reflection, self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-esteem. This New Year’s Resolution Worksheet Printable makes starting these conversations easier. You can incorporate them into your party, but they are probably best for a quieter moment with just your family. That way, everyone can take the time to reflect on the past year and think about their goals for the new one.

New Year’s Travel Destinations

If you will be out of town for New Year’s Eve, look to see what family-friendly celebrations are happening nearby. Travel Channel’s 11 Best Family New Year’s Celebrations shares some amazing places to bring in the new year together. Ask your accommodations provider if they will be having any special meals or activities. Bring some small decorations, games, and fun snacks with you.

Whether you are planning a low-key celebration at home, hosting family and friends, or traveling, these ideas will help you bring in the new year in a family-friendly style. Take the time as a family to reflect on the past year by going through photos or reminiscing about favorite activities. Commit to yourself and each other to make next year even better.