TiVo the kids to bed early on New Year's Eve
My kids are still too young to care about New Year's Eve, so I'm off the hook. If you're not, here's Amie's hack:
This one is for getting kids to go to bed at a decent hour when they really, really want to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve. Of course, it only works if you are willing to deceive your kids just a little bit...
Two years ago, when the oldest cousin in our extended family was nine, all the kids wanted to stay up until midnight and we the parents (foolishly) agreed. We (the parents) got tired and didn't want to stay up ourselves, let alone deal with the fallout the next day, so we cheated. We live in the Pacific time zone, so at 9:00 our time we Tivo'd the ball dropping in New York while the kids were out in the hot tub with Grandpa (yes, it's that warm here in winter). Then we set all the clocks ahead or moved them out of sight of little eyes.
When the stage was set and they had been out there long enough that they had no idea what time it was, we went out and told the kids, "hurry up, you have to get out soon or you'll miss it!" Grandpa got the kids out and everyone went off to get their jammies on. We rushed them appropriately ("hurry, it's almost time, the ball's going to drop soon!") and got everyone ready for bed in record time. When all were reassembled in the living room we unpaused the Tivo and turned the TV on. Just in the nick of time! The kids counted down to the New Year and went around giving everyone hugs and kisses. Then they went happily to bed - at about 9:30. The rest of us went to bed shortly thereafter and wished each other a happy new year in the morning.
Maybe this was helped by the fact that it had been a long day with no naps and they were already tired. Maybe we are all great actors. Maybe it's just that Tivo is one of the best inventions ever for parents. [Here, here. -- Ed.] Maybe they were just young enough that year that it worked. I don't know. But it worked - and I would do it again. Yes, three extra hours of sleep for everyone was worth it.