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.

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  1. Jill says

    Well, those of us on Eastern time need help too! I’ve got four hours and no TiVo to figure out how to get my kids a celebration and still in bed by eight! Send ideas quick! Can I YouTube a Dick Clark New Year’s from 2005?

  2. says

    They don’t have any New Year’s Eve celebrations for kids where you live? I guess it depends on where you live, but we’ve always managed to take the kids out to a celebration that includes a New Year’s countdown at about 9:00 – it’s “late” for young ones, but still early enough that you can get home and get the kids to bed at a decent time.

    Heck, this year we even found a New Year’s party at the library at noon on December 30, complete with a countdown, noisemakes, and “Auld Lang Syne” – no need to do anything at all tonight! :)

  3. says

    This is brilliant for you Americans – unfortunately there’s only one time zone in the UK so it wouldn’t work! *cries*

  4. says

    Here’s a thought. How about being the parent, and tell your child(ren), “it’s time for bed”.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I choose to make the rules in my house, and celebration or not, when it’s time for bed, it’s time for bed.

  5. Jill says

    Well, we survived and may have had our best New Year’s Eve ever. At 7:45 EST (usual bedtime is 7:30) we announced that there was 15 minutes til the New Year. We didn’t change clocks or fib, we simply celebrated with Europe this year, complete with finding it on the globe. We got out our hats and noisemakers, poured some bubbly soda for the kids and counted down the “last” minute. They were tucked in by 8:30, felt like they’d had a great experience, and we were all happy.

  6. Elizabeth says

    Jill, your idea is the best! It is indeed fun to have a celebration on a special holiday, and this allows you to have that fun without having to choose between keeping them up until all hours or being a grumpy party-pooper. I’ve never told my kids about New Year’s celebrations, but next year it will sure be fun. They’ll be 6, 4, and 1 — Perfect ages for some good New Year’s Eve partying the way you’ve described. And if DH and I go to a grown-up party, we can still do it earlier in the day without fibbing one bit. Nice work, Jill!

  7. mudface says

    I have to agree with Gene R. This is a lot of work “tricking” your kids to think its New Years. No kid has ever died from going to bed on time even if the date is Dec 31st. Be the parent and put them to bed on time, there are plenty of times to see the ball drop when they are older.