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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

New Year's with your kids



newyear.jpgI’ve got a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Eve. I hate figuring out what to do with the family, and love it when it’s over.

Because as a parent, Dec. 31 is a tough one to navigate with small and teenaged kids. It’s an evening that is particularly adult-centric, and it’s tough to plan around champagne and midnight when you’ve got a juice box and 8 p.m. bedtime audience.

So here are a couple of tips to make your New Year’s fun for all ages:

Location, Location, Location. First check out the local events here. The family friendly, alcohol free First Night party in downtown St. Petersburg has loads of music, art, games and fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight. The big draw this is year is the return of hometown phenom Michael Lynche of American Idol.

If you don’t see anything that catches your fancy, you may want to check into a hotel. Sometimes they will host an event that is kid-friendly like this one at the Sirata.  Along with a couple of our besties who also have school-aged kids, we’ve been known to drive to Orlando and camp out in a hotel all night while watching the fireworks from the theme parks. Safe, contained and together -- it’s been a real treat for all of us.

Party time If off-site doesn’t work for you, Someone has to draw the short straw and host a party. New Year’s is just a night that begs to be with family and good friends. Take turns each year or trade Super Bowl, but someone’s got to take one on for the team. It’s a tough evening for a host, but if everyone pitches in and divvies up the food and drink, it can be manageable.

Plan ahead to get the kids involved. I’ve had the older ones download music to play during the evening that held some meaning for us during the year. They can also Google New Year’s Eve customs around the world and maybe you can participate in some of those at home. (In Spain they eat 12 grapes for each strike at midnight for good luck while wearing red underwear.)

Beat the clock Granted, it’s a long evening. I’ve heard friends who would set the clocks ahead for their little ones and celebrate midnight at 9 p.m. so the little ones wouldn’t fall asleep before the big moment.

Game night. Bring along those party games you got for Christmas -- it’s a perfect activity for a crowd with Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve as the soundtrack.

Why, hello Netflix. (Or Redbox, or HBO or any other source of a family movie night complete with popcorn and the lights turned off.) Comfy jammies are a must.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for a safe and family-friendly New Year’s. Any fun traditions? 

Whatever you decide, best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011.

--Tracey Henry

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[Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 5:30pm]


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