Time is short so I’ll make this quick. It’s about how you can lie to your kids tonight, courtesy of Netflix. (And also why you should — although I doubt that part will be news.)
I know that sounds horrible, but if you have young kids, you understand that it’s crucial for them to get enough sleep to function and thrive.
You also know that tonight, New Year’s Eve, of all nights, is perhaps the last conducive time of the year to achieving that goal.
Perhaps you celebrate Christmas, but even if young kids are excited to see what Santa Claus has brought, you can push hard on the notion that Santa can’t come to any house where kids are awake.*
Birthdays, trips, other exciting plans — kind of the same thing. You can at least try convincing kids that the less cooperatively they go to bed, the less chance that the good thing they want to have happen actually will be able to happen.
But New Year’s Eve is different.
It’s the only night of the year during which kids want to say up late simply for the sake of staying up late. It’s insane (although of course there was a time when I fully participated in the insanity).
The kids want to be up to see the ball drop, and to witness firsthand the transition from last year into next year. Bye-bye 2018, hello 2019.
So, my fellow Americans, the answer is simple: Lie to them. Make them think that 7 p.m., or 9 p.m., or whatever you can get away with, is actually midnight.
My friend and colleague Joel Willis, executive editor at The Dad has been preaching this idea for years. Part of his tip: YouTube.
And, at Quartz, writer Corinne Purtill details the fairly elaborate ruses she employs to convince her now-7-year-old daughter that 9 p.m. is actually midnight. It involves a lot of surreptitiously turning the clocks ahead in her house during the day.
Also: gathering around the television to watch the New York City ball drop, which is three hours ahead of midnight for her California family.
I’m a dad, but 7 years old is still in the future for us, and it sounds a little bit more elaborate than I’m probably going to be up for. So I don’t know if we’ll still be trying this subterfuge in a few years, after our darling child can tell time.
But tonight — or more to the point, this afternoon, in a few hours — we’ll be gathering at a friend’s house with a group of kids aged about 2 to 6.
We’ll eat some food, drink a little champagne and apple juice, and I’m guessing around 7 p.m., call up one of the many “deceive-your-kids” specials on Netflix this year — a series of at least 14 fake ball drop countdowns that Netflix unveiled recently, specifically (I think) for this purpose. (video at bottom)
Then we’ll probably hang out a little while longer, head home, put the youngsters to bed, and have at least two or three more hours to hang out like adults before midnight.
Which we’ll probably do just because that’s the whole point, and be in bed by 12:05 a.m. Some habits die hard.
Happy New Year everyone!