Once you’ve made it through Christmas, it’s all go for New Year’s Eve, but if you’re at home with the children it can feel like a quite lonely prospect as a single parent. Social media is awash with people out and about at parties or in big family groups at home, and if you’re staying home alone with the kids, you might be facing a bit of a potential wobble. But we’ve pulled together some of our favourite single parent NYE activities, because it’s the perfect opportunity to set the tone for the year ahead, with hope, happiness, and positivity. Here’s how to spend NYE if you’re a single mum or dad at home with the children.
Before we start, one of the toughest things about NYE, single parent or not, is the anti-climax of the countdown. A few minutes past midnight and wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you can feel suddenly blue that a ‘big moment’ has passed you by. If you’re at home with younger children and they won’t last until midnight, think about moving the countdown a little earlier (8pm, 9pm, 10pm?) so that you can have fun together, celebrate the arrival of the New Year a little early and then all go to bed for a good night’s sleep. You’ll wake up into a fresh year after a solid 8 (or more) hours’ sleep, feeling great, and incredibly smug.
Feeling green thinking about all the single, childless folk hitting the club and dancing their way into the New Year? Don’t let your lack of access to a dance floor stop you from doing the same. Transforming your home into a club with a disco light and portable speaker, a glass of champagne for you and some sugar for the kids will get the endorphins pumping just as well as a club full of strangers, you’ll have more space for elbow throwing and there will be no end-of-night taxi-finding dramas. Dance until you all drop, hit the lights and head to bed safe in the knowledge that your children are in no way missing out of family fun simply for having one less adult in the house.
Why not spend the evening in pyjamas playing your favourite family games, video games or puzzles, wrapped up warm and having a laugh? Starting the New Year as you mean to go on, making sure your single parent family is all about togetherness.
If you have younger kids, get them tucked up in bed nice and early after a little party tea and an extra tight squeeze and spend the evening indulging in some me-time. Whether that means a bubble bath, a glass of wine and your favourite show on Netflix, or a beer, a magazine and bed, do something that is all about you, that you usually put off because there’s something more pressing to do. Me-time should always be a priority for single parents, so set the precedent for the year ahead and do something that makes you feel good.
Conversely, if you have older kids, how about letting them invite friends over (their parents will be forever grateful) and hosting a party or sleepover for them to start the New Year? Sometimes when we’re having a single parenting wobble, focusing on the children can be a really helpful way to make it through until it passes, and looking after a houseful of excited teenagers should be enough to take your mind off things. Make them all help with the clear up the next day, though…
If facing the night alone is really getting you down, find some company. If you have family nearby, consider crashing their plans, or find local friends to team up with. Get onto the Frolo app to find single parent friends in your area, as they will become your survival network at times like these. If you’re new to single parent life and haven’t connected with other frolos just yet, look out for online meet-ups that are happening and join in virtually.
Speaking of joining in virtually, getting online for some socialising is another great option for NYE. Zoom meets and video calls haven’t ended with lockdown, and you might have other single friends located too far away to meet up with but also staying in alone for the night. Set yourself up with drinks, snacks and get online to spend the time alone together. That way, you won’t be alone at all.
However you're spending NYE, if you're awake at midnight, give the kids a big squeeze or a kiss on their sleeping heads, and remember how lucky you are to have them there with you, and how lucky they are to have you with them. You've got this.