Crowded bars and clubs, expensive cab fares… a big night out on the town for New Year’s Eve can lose its appeal eventually.

Becoming a parent largely means your hard-partying days are over. But, that doesn’t mean you have to have a humdrum night as the calendar flips to January! The holiday is an exciting time for kids, too, as they have the chance to stay up a bit later and be with their family, watching the world celebrate along with them.

As parents, the onus is on us to lead the way with energy and excitement for our kids. So, as you visit the drawing board to dream up a family-friendly New Year’s celebration, get things started with any (or all) of these ideas:

  1. Host your own countdown: Watching the New Year’s ball drop from thousands of miles of way is a timeless tradition, but why not give your kids a front-row seat? DIYers rejoice: Creating your own ball drop is a 3-step process that kids can decorate to their own glittery taste. If you want to go the extra mile, create a paper mache version that you can fill with treats – a piñata to bash as soon as it’s midnight.
  2. Plan a night of winter adventures: For kids that can’t get enough of the great outdoors, getting out and active will go over well. Research ice rinks in your area (or a pond if the ice is frozen thick) for an open skate. Follow that up with sledding and tubing down some snowy hills. Or, if you’d like to make a full weekend trip out of it, Michigan has cabins and lodges in every corner of the state.
  3. Throw a sleepover extravaganza: Don’t overthink the occasion; sometimes a pajama night at home is just what everyone wants to do! Vote for and watch the family’s favorite movies, serve up an ice cream buffet, and enjoy it all in your one-of-a-kind pillow fort.
  4. Find a local jamboree: If you’re not looking to host your own party, nothing is easier than finding a party in your community. Your town’s website and social media pages should have event listings. Many have entertainers, activities like dodge ball and rock climbing, and in some cases, caretakers to look over your little ones as it gets closer to midnight. What’s more, you can start 2018 the right way by meeting and making new family friends!

Happy New Year to all! May the next 12 months be filled with happiness, health and family. Energize your children to get 2018 started on the right foot with Empowering Michigan