Planning a New Year’s Eve celebration when you’ve got children is hugely different to the type of parties you’d throw or attend if the kids weren’t around. That’s not to say that NYE can’t still be enjoyable – it just means that you have to factor in keeping the little people happy throughout the night, so it's a great idea to plan activities that will keep them engaged and benefit the whole party.
Sound like a mammoth task? We’ve got some tips:
Dress Up or Dress Down
If you’re planning a party at home, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s going to be a fashionable gathering or something a little less informal. Decide which the kids would prefer – is it the time to repurpose those Halloween costumes and make it a fun dress-up night or would a pyjama-based NYE party be a better idea? You know your kids and your limits, so choose your favourite option.
Setting the scene is also so important, are you going for a relaxed feel or a more serious occasion? Using leftover Christmas decorations
or party supplies
from the previous week are a great way to keep the costs low and the enjoyment high. Adding party poppers, tinsel, Christmas lights and simple decorations are always very easy to get hold of.
Designate a Kid Corner
Having a space that the kids can call their own all night means that the kids not only feel as though they’ve been considered and have somewhere to go, it also means that adults know where they stand as well. If you have a guest who doesn’t mix well with kids, you can help keep them separate without banishing either the kids or the guest. Plus, a designated kids’ corner gives them a spot to look after and call their own – woe betide any adult who steps into the corner without permission!
Get the Music Right
This is where you may need two rooms and two sets of speakers! It’s unlikely that your smaller party guests and the more grown-up ones are going to enjoy the same music for the evening. So, get the kids involved in creating a playlist for their corner which can include whatever pop songs are flavour of the month. Meanwhile, you can cultivate a more grown-up playlist for the adults to enjoy. The two might interact occasionally when guests wander around, but at least everyone will be happy for a good proportion of the time.
Set Up a Photobooth
The best way to keep those happy NYE memories alive is to record them for posterity. You can have fun with the kids ahead of the big night by creating (or buying, if you’d prefer) a backdrop that suits the occasion. Maybe you can paint balloons on a large piece of cardboard or even buy some inflatables to play fight with on camera. As with everything when you’re planning parties with kids, find an angle that they’ll like and exploit it.
Choose Activities for the Kids
New Years Eve can be really boring for kids if it’s not designed with them as a focus. For instance, if you hope that the kids are going to blend into an adult party and behave themselves for several hours, you might be hoping in vain. So, instead of risking boredom and tantrums, prepare activities that they will enjoy. Whether it's letting them play with their favourite Minion toys or craft activities, preparing something which they can play with or create is a great way to keep them occupied throughout the night.
Mocktails Instead of Cocktails
Well, we’re not saying you can’t have cocktails, but why not whip up some mocktails for the kids while you’re at it? The fancy glasses (plastic ones, if you’d prefer) help kids to feel grown-up and involved in the party, plus there are numerous kid-friend mocktail recipes out there to help you find something suited to their tastes. It’s a great way of showing them they’re equal guests to everyone else, despite the no-alcohol rule.
Party Games for Everyone
Don’t think that making special arrangements for the kids means they have to be kept confined to their corner all night. You can involve them in games involving the whole party, whether you’re having team quizzes (throw in some child-friendly questions), karaoke competitions or playing the classic Mumbo Jumbo Game. By bringing the whole party together during the evening, at least for a few times, you’re creating a family NYE vibe without everyone getting on everyone’s nerves all night.
Choose Food Carefully
At a kid-friendly NYE party, there needs to be kid-friendly food. This sometimes goes without saying, but it’s also one of those things that can get lost as you try and plan the perfect party for some grown-up guests you may not see very often. So, small bites for kids are a great idea, along with platters they can take into their corner and share. It might be that you need to relax your rules about where kids are supposed to eat, just to avoid them running around the kitchen or dining room while everyone else is trying to eat.
Plan a Fake Countdown
If you’ve got younger kids who need to be asleep before midnight, planning a mock countdown at, say, 9pm will help them feel involved and hopefully prove to them they’re not missing anything when you put them to bed. It’s true that many kids will be eager to stay up as long as possible, though, so you need to weigh up whether giving them one late night is worth it to save potentially party-disrupting tantrums.
Plan a Real Countdown
Once midnight nears, you need a plan to get everyone involved in the countdown. This could be something as simple as playing certain music in the run up to midnight or perhaps releasing some balloons. Whatever you choose, remember to get the kids involved as it’s likely they’ll be around the rest of your guests for this part of the evening. You could give them a special clock to watch to let you know when midnight’s getting close – just don’t forget to keep a watch nearby yourself in case they get too distracted by the fun they’re having!
What will you be doing this New Year's Eve? Will you be planning a party? Let us know in the comment box below...