The end of 2022 is near – can you believe it?? It feels like the year just started, yet here we are wrapping it up again with a black and gold bow. Your New Year’s celebrations may not look the same as B.C. (Before Children), but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun for everyone. If you’re up for a little prep work, both kids and adults can have a great time ushering in the New Year.
Set the Stage
One of the first things you can do to prepare for the big night is to set the stage throughout the day. That doesn’t mean that you need to hype things up for your toddler or young child so they’re in a tizzy by the end of the day. What it DOES mean is that you need to stick to your regular schedule as much as possible with a few additional items.
Start by making sure your kids are up at their usual time, even if that means you have to wake them up. Then get out into the good ‘ol outdoors early in the morning if possible. Depending on where you live, it might be cold out, but getting sunshine and fresh air first thing in the morning is a great way to set everyone up for napping and bedtime success. So bundle on up, and head outdoors!
Second thing: don’t skip the nap (if your child still takes them). One common pitfall parents make is thinking that skipping a nap or going to bed later than usual will make a child sleep better.
Skipping naps and setting significantly-later-than-usual bedtimes is a surefire way to make bedtime harder and end up with a kid that won’t sleep through the night. When your child gets overly tired, their body starts producing stress hormones that make it difficult to get to sleep (and stay asleep). With fireworks popping all around your house, you will want a child that is sleeping soundly around midnight – not one that has been fussy and restless since bedtime.
Modify the Festivities
You can still have a fun evening with sparklers and fireworks and a ball drop with young children – you just need to do it earlier in the night. Luckily, it gets dark early in most places, and several streaming services offer a “ball drop on demand.” So have a pint-sized party with your kids and then a grown-up version a few hours later.
Don’t Forget the Routine
Once you finish the kid activities, follow up with your standard bedtime routine. A warm bath, comfy PJs, a song, a story, and lots of snuggles are great ways to calm their minds and bodies down to get ready for sleep. Whatever you do – don’t skip out on the bedtime routine. Even if you have to push it back a half hour to allow for a child-sized New Year’s Eve party, the routine’s familiarity is comforting and calming for your little one. Sticking to it is a good way to help your infant sleep through the night.
Depending on your home’s layout, you might want to move things around on the big night. One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a successful night is to have a good sleeping environment for your little one, but you might run into problems if their bed is close to the window or a busy street.
If your child will sleep in a pack-n-play or is small enough to use a mobile bassinet, you might move things around for the night. First, determine which room is the furthest away from the noise and celebrations and set up camp just for that night. If that room isn’t particularly dark, setting up a blackout pod around the pack-n-play could be very helpful.
You might not be able to physically move your baby to another area of the house, but there are some ways you can make the room better suited for sleeping during the celebrations. Some ideas include:
- Using a noise machine or turning an existing one up slightly
- Turning on a ceiling fan
- Hanging up blackout and/or soundproofing curtains
- Using fabric door sweeps to block out noise from under the door
Then, once everyone is safely in bed, you are free to stay up and watch the actual ball drop (or go to bed at your normal time! #nojudgment).
New Year’s Eve is a special night of fun and exciting activities. In your years B.C., you might have stayed up all hours of the night, popped champagne, and lit up fireworks at midnight. Now that you have children, you can do those things, but you might need to make some modifications. By being aware of your child’s sleep needs and making necessary adjustments, you can set the night up for success and start the New Year off right.