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Safe ways for teens to celebrate on New Year's Eve

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

5 alcohol-free ways for teenagers to ring in the new year

Sending a teenager out on New Year's Eve may sound like a parent's worst nightmare, but there are actually plenty of fun ways for teens to ring in the new year that don't involve dangerous activities like imbibing alcohol.

More: 5 Parenting goals you should set for the new year

We found five teen-friendly New Year's Eve activities to keep them safe while celebrating.

1. Daytime ball drops

Museums and other local venues often host daytime, family-friendly, safe New Year's Eve ball drops where people young and old can count down to the new year without having to stay up until midnight. Check with your local convention and visitor's bureau for possible events.

2. Fireworks

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Start the new year off with a bang and take your teen to a professional fireworks show. Some ballparks and amusement parks put on an amazing fireworks display that can be viewed from both inside and outside of the park, so pack a blanket and enjoy the show.

3. Organized events

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Indoor activities like roller skating, ice skating, bowling and commercial arcades are safe and fun New Year's Eve activities for teens. Check for special deals and events that may prohibit kids — including teens — from leaving until the event is over or until picked up by a parent. Have your teen plan to attend with a group of friends and coordinate amongst the adults who will be in charge of picking them up.

4. Host a party at home

5 alcohol-free ways for teenagers to ring in the new year
Image: Todor Tsvetkov/Getty Images

Hosting a safe New Year's Eve party for teens is the easiest way to ensure your child is playing by the rules. Music, movies and munchies are the perfect party combo for teens — and let your kid help plan everything from the decor to the food. Try make-your-own pizzas, cute appetizers, fun mocktails and maybe a chocolate fountain for dessert.

More: 11 ways to have a family-friendly New Year's Eve party

5. Amusement parks

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Theme parks often offer special events and hours during the holidays, such as Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which is open until 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve. Security patrol, monitored activities and an enclosed environment offer teens a safe New Year's Eve option so that parents can rest easy.

Don't forget safe driving rules

There are many options for safe New Year's Eve celebrations for teens, but if your teenager will be on the road this New Year's Eve, review safe road rules, including no drinking and driving or texting while driving.

"End the night right: If you fear that your driver for the evening may have become under the influence during the course of the night, do not — under any circumstances — get in their vehicle," advises Kevin Markham, Ford Global Driver Safety, Dearborn Development Center and Ford Motor Company's Driving Skills for Life program. "Your parents or sibling won't be mad if you call late for a ride; in fact, they should be happy you made the responsible and safe decision."

With the right choices and parental ground rules you can help make this a safe New Year's your teen won't soon forget.

More: How to use the new year to teach your kids about goals

Originally published December 2012. Updated December 2016.

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