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Arranging child care for New Year's Eve

How to make New Year's Eve plans with

How to make New Year's Eve plans with your kids. Credit: iStock

Maybe you had a baby this year. Maybe you accomplished potty training. Maybe you slept through the night for the first time in two years. Whatever you're celebrating or hoping to leave behind in 2011, you also may have a new struggle: finding a great baby-sitter on New Year's Eve.

Not sure what to do? Just follow these expert ideas:

Find a new sitter. OK, so your favorite college sitter has left for December break. But many college kids have come home to Long Island and are likely looking for some holiday cash. Be specific about how late you think you'll stay out; if you need your z's, you might be home in time for your sitter to go out and have some fun, too.

Celebrate family-style. If you can't be sans-kids, include them in your plans. Try a celebration with kids by watching the ball drop around the world, then send the kids to bed and have a champagne toast and some alone time.

Arrange a baby-sitting swap. Ask a friend if she wants to watch your kids on the 31st, and you'll take hers on Valentine's Day. You also might offer up three nights of baby-sitting in exchange for this big one. For friends who don't mind a New Year's in, it may be worth the trade.

Throw a party for neighborhood kids. You may find some trusted teenage friends who are willing to baby-sit together. Arrange to go out with a few friends, leaving all your kids together at one house. Your kids are happy because they're with their friends, the sitters are happy to hang out together, and you're out with your friends. It's a win-win-win situation.

Throw a huge slumber party. The problem with getting together with another family is that you still have to head home early to get the kids to bed, usually well before midnight. Renting a house with friends lets you keep the party going long after the kids have to go to sleep, or designate one house the "slumber party" house and let everyone spend the night. If you can hire a sitter to put them all to bed, even better.

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