Celebrating the New Year with Your Kids

Five easy ways to celebrate the New Year with your kids. (Photo: Thinkstock)Staying up until midnight or partying the night away sounds like a great way to celebrate the New Year -- if you're an adult. But once you have kids at home, welcoming in the New Year takes a decidedly different tone. Here are a few easy ways to celebrate with your kids.

Related: Kissing at Midnight -- The History of the New Years' Eve Kiss

Make a day of it. When it's midnight in Mumbai it's just 1:30 p.m. in New York. Start your celebration at noon instead of midnight, and look at pictures from other countries as 2013 dawns in each time zone.

Have a family party before the grown-up party. You can still have friends over (or go out) to celebrate, but why not throw a party for your kids beforehand? Dress up, drink sparkling juice or cider out of pretty cups, and eat a celebratory dinner made up entirely of appetizers and finger foods (yes, you can still make it a well-balanced meal!). Ring in the New Year around your toddler's bedtime (midnight in London is 7 p.m. on the East Coast) and then again with your friends at midnight.

Look back over the year. With Facebook and online photo-sharing sites, reminiscing about the best parts of the past year is a snap. Feeling extra creative? Select photos in advance, print them out, and spend New Year's Eve creating a family scrapbook filled with written memories, snapshots, and mementos (and then ask everyone in your family to sign it).

Start a family tradition. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Watch your family's favorite movies, cook (or order) a special New Year's Eve meal, do puzzles, play games, or just sing songs. The point is to create a ritual that your family can repeat every year -- one that your kids can pass along to the next generation.

Write out your New Years' resolutions together. If adults find it difficult to stick to their New Years' resolutions, should kids even try to come up with their own?

"Setting goals, even at an early age, can be a good thing," said pediatric psychologist Adelle Cadieux of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "There can be many benefits to this kind of planning, whether or not the goal is attained in the long run."

Appropriate goals for kids could include playing outside more often, reading a certain number of pages per week, trying new foods, doing an additional chore, or honing their best manners.

How are you celebrating the New Year with your kids?

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