For posterity's sake, I thought I'd jot down a few of the things we learned last night while ringing in the New Year with a house full of teens. 

One of Eric's friends had planned a party, but when that fell through Greg and I were thrilled to open our house up to the kids and to let them get together here under our supervision.

A few things we would recommend:

  1. Do agree to be the party house - Kids want to get together, and in my opinion I'd rather have them in my home than anywhere else! If there here, I know they are supervised, not drinking, safe and having fun.
  2. Don't let your kid invite the entire grade - Unless you are prepared for a major blowout, keep the guest list to a reasonable count.  You can decide for your family what the definition of "reasonable" is.  For us, we felt we could safely supervise 25 friends.
  3. Do have a start and end time - Most of the kids showed up either early, or right on time.  We told them they needed to be picked up or leave by 1:00 AM and all but a few had parents pick them up by that time.
  4. Do maintain a watchful presence - Give the kids some space, but let them know you're in the vicinity.  I spent two hours in the kitchen baking cookies and brownies for them.  While they knew I was nearby, since I was busy it didn't look like I was just hanging around for no reason.
  5. Do keep the menu simple - Finger foods, clear liquids (obviously non-alcoholic) and lots of sweets seemed to be the most popular items.  A few weeks ago, we ordered pizzas for this same crowd and half of them went uneaten.  The big winner last night was the Artichoke Dip.
  6. Do have activity options - We have ping pong, air hockey and pool tables at the ready for teen visitors.  But last night, they spent two hours playing Cranium Family Edition - a fun game that's a mix of charades, pictionary, and some other classics.  They also enjoyed lighting off a few safe fireworks and hanging out around a bonfire, but there require definite adult supervision.

I can't think of a better way to have celebrated the New Year than to gather with our kids and their buddies last night - sure, we have some clean up to do today, but hopefully the memories the kids made last night will last longer than the brownie stains on the carpet!