I love 8:00pm. It’s the sacred hour when both of my kids are in their rooms for the night, and with any luck, are already fast asleep and won’t need me for anything until the sun comes up in the morning. Usually I end up passing out too. 🙂
So when Emily was almost 7 years old, Jay and I decided that she was old enough to stay up to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. This both excited me and struck dread – how on earth was I going to entertain Emily enough to keep her (and myself) awake until midnight? And how would I prevent myself from going bonkers without my much-needed down time at the end of the day?
After checking out Pinterest for ideas, I decided to take a few of my favorites and tweak them so that they worked better for us. My favorite ideas focused around doing a different activity each hour. I wanted to spend time with her on such a special occasion, but because I knew I needed my break I wanted activities that would allow Emily to play on her own for a while, or even one-on-one with Jay. For her first year staying up, I printed out clocks, each with a different hour leading up to midnight, and glued them onto gift bags. Each gift bag had an activity inside, from baking cookies with Mommy to popcorn and games with Daddy. There were also puzzles, Uno, and craft activities too. The last bag (opened right before midnight) was full of celebrating toys like poppers and glow sticks.
Last year I followed the same principle, but instead of gift bags I labeled envelopes with the different hours leading up to midnight. I didn’t want to go buy a bunch of new stuff, especially since she’d just gotten new toys for Christmas, so I wrote out activities on scrapbook paper that involved playing with her new stuff. One hour Jay and I played Legos together with her, another hour she worked a puzzle with me, and another hour she played the Wii with Jay. I spaced out all the activities so that Jay and I each had a little break time, but still had time to bond and make memories with Emily.
We’ve also had Emily fill out a little questionnaire each year that she’s stayed up (I’m so mad I can’t find last year’s questionnaire! 😡 ). It’s one of our favorite things, since we get a little peek into how she thought the previous year went and what she’s looking forward to in the next. You can find other similar questionnaires here, here, and here. I think we’ll be using this one from Layers of Learning though – I’m dying to know what advice Emily has for us! 😀
This year we’re changing it up again, and we’re planning to do a mini Harry Potter movie marathon, watching the last two movies (Parts 1 & 2 of The Deathly Hallows) back-to-back with some fun treats thrown in. We’ve been watching the whole series again, and thought that would be a great way to wrap them all up before Jay’s next out-of-town trip. We’ll probably spend a little time making snacks and working on the new jigsaw puzzle she got for Christmas… hopefully with all this fun, I’ll make it to midnight. 😉