Letting Kids Stay Up Til Midnight on New Year’s Eve

An explanation of why I’ve decided to let my daughters ring in the new year.

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By Catherine Crawford

Growing up on the west coast of the United States, I would watch the Times Square ball drop with my parents on New Year’s --- on television at 9 p.m. And then I was sent off to bed.

I don’t remember feeling particularly deprived of any New Year’s Eve excitement, although I also don’t have memories of New Year’s Eve being particularly exciting.

Lately, my two young daughters have been lobbying hard for permission to stay up until midnight on December 31st this year -- one indication that they’re savvier than I was as a kid.

Initially, I vetoed their plea outright. I have a strong aversion to whines and live in fear of the day after a slumber party with an under-slept kid. However, I decided to investigate where others stand on the issue. Surprisingly, I’ve changed my tune. Wish me luck.

Here’s my (new) reasoning for letting my 9 and 7-year-old daughters reign in 2014 in real time:

1) Memories and tradition: I found myself growing a little jealous when one friend I interviewed described her family’s New Year’s Eve tradition. Every year at midnight, she and her husband take their kids (same age as mine) for a pajama parade around the block. The kids get sparkling apple cider while the parents share a nice bottle of bubbly. This sounds like something my family can get behind and that my kids will definitely remember.

2) Nothing going on the next day: New Year’s Day is perhaps the only day each year we all have off with nothing to do. No school, no sports, no work (!) If ever there was a time to experiment with sleep deprivation, this is it. Usually, my husband and I spend the day wishing we could lounge about, while the girls, fresh from their requisite 10 hours of sleep, bounce off the walls looking for fun. Maybe this year we’ll all just cozy up and watch movies. Fingers crossed!

3) It’s just a day: I have been working hard to temper my inner helicopter mom. The last thing I want is for my kids to be so micromanaged that they grow incapable of functioning outside of their normal routines. While I’m not ready to let go of the reigns completely, I’m happy to loosen up.

If you have young children, will you let them stay up on New Year’s Eve? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.


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