Are your kids old enough to stay awake for the NYE countdown, and if so, how do you keep your kids up until midnight if you’re celebrating NYE at home? After becoming a parent, New Year’s Eve may look different, especially if you have young children. Babies and small toddlers typically follow a sleep schedule and need significantly more sleep than adults, so it may be impossible for them to pull all-nighters. Lack of sleep will impact their sleep quality and emotional self-regulation, resulting in an overtired and cranky baby for a few days. Don’t feel bad if you forgo the fancy midnight parties in lieu of bedtime stories since younger tots won’t understand the meaning behind the festivities anyway.
However, older children ages five and up may want to participate in the merriment and excitement of December 31st, the day where if you keep your kids up until midnight, they get to witness the very start of the new year. Saying goodbye to an old year to ring in the new one is an exciting occasion. Since the New Year’s Eve countdown only happens once a year, it’s understandable why you want your children to celebrate alongside you on this festive evening, as long as they’re old enough. After all, it’s natural to want to watch the ball drop together and share this momentous occasion with the people you love the most.
One Late Night Won’t Hurt Them – it Builds Memories
Your kids don’t usually stay up this late, but that’s okay. If you wish to keep your kids up until midnight and stay up later than normal on New Year’s Eve, it’s fine from a health standpoint. One late night won’t hurt or result in long-term damage for normal, healthy kids. You’re even filling up your children’s memory banks with something special, because this is something exciting and meaningful that fulfills their sense of family belonging. Studies affirm that positive childhood experiences such as welcoming a new year could lead to happier adults with better cognition. Besides, New Year is a holiday, so it’s understandable if you and your kids are feeling celebratory and anticipating the upcoming new year.
However, keep in mind that children have different temperaments and sleeping habits. If you have multiple kids of different ages, it might be easier to keep your kids up until midnight if they’re older. Some kids may find it easy to last until midnight while others will find their eyes drooping at 9 pm. Moreover, most children will feel tired the next day, so make sure you don’t schedule anything fancy so they can catch up on lost sleep and restore their energy. If you intend to party as a family, here are some tips to ensure your kids stay wide awake until midnight to meet the new year and watch the ball drop.
Below are some tips on how to keep your kids up until midnight with you, for the countdown to the new year, so you can ring in the new year together:
Ensure That Children Have a Good Sleep The Night Before NYE
Make sure your older kids and teens have a good eight hours of sleep consistently. Younger children may need longer than that. When they have a good rest days before New Year’s Eve celebrations, their body will have enough sleep to operate and function. If your children are worn out during the days leading to the NYE festivities, they will not have enough steam to last the night.
And let’s face it; this typically happens with children who tend to sleep late when it’s winter break. They get a high from Christmas, staying up late and sneaking past their normal bedtimes. Bear in mind that anyone who’s sleep-deprived the night before or several days prior and doesn’t maintain their usual sleep schedule will find it difficult to stay awake. It won’t be surprising if they sleep through all the New Year’s noise. Moreover, be mindful of letting your kids oversleep. Excessive sleep can make them feel sluggish and groggy throughout the day.
Make Sure Kids Get Time for Midday Nap
Advanced preparation is necessary if you wish to keep young children awake for the NYE celebration. And one of the things that can help you achieve that is to ensure your kids have time for an afternoon nap. This will allow the body to attain a state of deep sleep which could help make up for some of the lost hours on New Year’s.
Typically, older kids forgo an afternoon nap and may resist sleeping. However, remind them that having this quiet time will give them the energy to last through the night. Otherwise, they may be unable to keep their eyes open long enough to see the fireworks and ball drop. To help promote a conducive sleep environment, it would help to do the following:
- Limit gadget use for the day to help them nap
- Provide healthy meals that don’t promote a sugar rush (more on this later)
- Light up a calming and sleep-inducing scent like lavender
- Put on some serene music or other sleep sounds that will lull kids to sleep
Enforcing a midday nap can help avoid cranky meltdowns and pave the way for a smoother evening. Remember, even if your kids don’t actually fall asleep, quiet time for rest can be very restorative and give them the energy they need to last the countdown.
Provide Small Nutritious Meals to Rev Up Metabolism and Keep Energy Going
Food is the fuel that will keep kids energetic and awake for New Year’s Eve countdown. As much as possible, avoid giving your kids processed food with empty calories and poor nutritional content. Instead, offer vitamin-rich meals that provide and sustain energy levels.
Small meals are better as this will keep the metabolism running. In contrast, large meals take longer to digest and overwork the system, making individuals feel sluggish. Offer food with lots of vitamin C like citrus fruits to build up immunity. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, almonds, and salmon are also metabolism boosters.
Create a Bright Environment to Keep Kids Stimulated
As dusk sets in, it means you’re closer to ringing in the new year. It would help to create a festive environment that keeps kids stimulated, energetic, and awake. For starters, flip on the lights to make things brighter. When the environment is bright and cheery, the kids won’t feel sleepy.
Pop on some funky music with an upbeat tune that will energize the spirits of everyone in the house. It would help to turn up the volume so everyone can feel the blood pumping through their veins. Of course, make sure the decibel is not excessively high to prevent hearing damage and avoid disturbing the neighbors. Steer clear of slow songs that help everyone relax and make them feel sleepy.
Engage in Fun Activities to Occupy the Time
Your kids will not fall asleep if they have some productive activities to do to pass the time away. When they’re bored, they may zone out and fall asleep without you realizing it. Here are some fun ideas to combat that:
- Dance the night away with a fun playlist
- Play board games and interactive games
- Do arts and crafts to keep hands and minds busy
- Rent new movies to watch
- Let kids pick and munch on snacks and treats
- Have a balloon pop count down
- Bring out party poppers
- Write new year’s resolutions
You may have hidden talents written in your DNA that could help you figure out what you can do at home to while away the time. You and your family can take a CircleDNA test to get to know yourselves more. Apart from ancestry, disease risk, and nutrition or exercise suggestions, this will tell you more about your personality traits and hidden talents. You may find out that you’re genetically gifted at dancing, for example. A test like this could help you figure out activities that are best suited for your genetic constitution. With this valuable knowledge, you can keep your kids entertained until midnight and the rest of the year with activities that align with your unique DNA.
Invite Other Children Over to Join in the Fun
Having other children around will help your kids stay awake and active until midnight. When kids are around other kids, they tend to be more energetic and playful since they have someone to interact with. If you’re determined to meet the New Year as a family, it may be good to have younger cousins around. If your family doesn’t live nearby, you can invite friends with young kids over.
With people around, your home will become more festive and fun. There’s no time for kids to feel bored or sleepy. This comes with a bonus of self-development because studies on Peer Play show many positive benefits of social interaction and playing with fellow kids. Interacting with others their age through play teaches children self-control, sharing, cooperation, and more.
Rejuvenate with a Breath of Fresh Air
When you’re with a lot of people for an NYE party, the atmosphere in the home or the venue will be crowded. This can make you feel hot and humid especially when the heaters are on. This type of environment can make your kids feel very sleepy. Keep them awake by popping outside for a little bit to breathe fresh air.
If you live in a temperate zone, make sure to bundle up properly before heading outside. It would help to avoid energy-zapping activities in the snow like building snowmen or making snow angels. A short walk around the block or hanging by your porch to get fresh oxygen is enough to clear everyone’s heads and rejuvenate your kids’ spirits.
Prepare a Fancy New Year’s Eve Feast
Finally, you can make New Year’s eve extra festive with a fun feast. Seeing a table full of yummy munchies will keep your kids excited and eager to stay awake. Take out your good china and dress up your table for a fancy NYE spread. Keep your children invested by making it a family affair. When their minds and hands are busy, they won’t feel sleepy. You can ask them to do the following:
- Help create the menu
- Pick one or two treats that are usually restricted
- Set a theme and make the table pretty
- Pour drinks
- Cook up delicious munchies
Choose age-appropriate kitchen duties to keep your children occupied until midnight. Keep them motivated with a promise of a New Year’s toast. Bring out your fancy glassware and have them look forward to clinking wine glasses with bubbly grape juice, sparkling apple cider, or fancy root beer floats. Exclaim “cheers” as the clock strikes midnight. Saying hi to a brand new year just wouldn’t be complete without it. Of course, don’t forget to take photos to commemorate this precious moment. Then, pat yourself on the back for keeping the kids energetic until midnight and creating fun childhood memories. Well done, mom and dad!
- Toddler Sleep Guidelines You Need to Know (Mali Anderson) https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/sleep/101/toddler-sleep-101-what-you-need-to-know/
- Are Positive Childhood Experiences Linked to Better Cognitive Functioning in Later Life?: Examining the Role of Life Course Pathways (Haena Lee & Markus Schafer) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7906946/
- Effects of Meal Frequency on Metabolic Profiles and Substrate Partitioning in Lean Healthy Males (Marjet Munster & Wim Saris) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374835/Peer Play (Hannah Scott & Mark Cogburn) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30020595/