Ah, the sleepover. One of the fondest memories a child can make. Yet for many parents, it can be a handful. Thankfully, with a little planning and advice, moms and dads may survive the night relatively unscathed. To help you out, we have narrowed down our top tips in this handy little Sleepover Guide.
Is It Time?
Yes, this sounds like "winter is coming" but sleepover readiness is no less than your parental intuition and studying patterns. Your kid may be pressing the issue of calling her/his/their friend over for the night, but you will know when they are truly ready. Trust your gut.
This usually starts like a wave when they turn 7 or 8. One fine day one of their classmates will plan a sleepover, and they will get on that bandwagon real fast.
There is no hiding from it. You cannot put it off for their entire childhood. Therefore we suggest you get it over with when you feel everyone is close to ready (hard to ever be 100% ready :-)
Your kid is excited! They’ll want to call everyone over. This isn't the wisest thing, especially if you are new to the world of sleepovers. You see, once you open the door to sleepovers, they are going to want them for their birthdays, weekends, and so on. Therefore, start small; even one or two works for most parents.
But then there are those who host 15 friends without a second thought. The trick is to get to know the crowd a bit beforehand. This helps you arrange everything accordingly, feeling secure that it will go well.
Tap Into Parents for Support
The parental network of information is very real. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. While this may seem like a gossip column, it can be your greatest strength. The parents of the attendees are revered individuals who are "in the know".
They know their kid's allergies, they know how that one sleepover went, and they know how their kids like their food served.
Information is power. Ask questions. And be clear on what you expect the children and their parents to do when you are hosting a sleepover. Details such as drop-off and pick-up times, food-related information, and so on should be discussed beforehand to keep things smooth.
Sugar is NOT for sleepovers
As parents, there are days when your kid is a handful. There is no denying that. Now imagine that version of your kid on steroids! This is what happens when you give sugar to a bunch of children already hopped up on excitement.
Serve anything with sugar a few hours before they hit the hay. Go for light, healthy and interesting foods to keep the little ones satisfied without driving their nervous tummies over the edge.
As excited as your kid is, you need to maintain your cool. If the kids aren't geared up to participate in activities you have planned or indulge in the cheesy broccoli bites you prepared, don't force them. They usually enjoy each other's company and have things planned out for the evening.
It's better to leave them be and occasionally check up on them to see if anything is needed. The calmer you are, the clearer you will be able to think should you really need to.
Lay Down The Law
To ensure that everyone has fun while staying safe, you must lay down the law and state your boundaries. Make sure everyone understands how to conduct themselves. The best way to keep things under control is to communicate with your child before the day of the sleepover. Make sure there is a code word or action that only your child understands, and you can use it to summon them whenever something isn't right.
Unless there are just 2 or 3 friends who can fit on available beds, it is better to make similar arrangements on the floor with sleeping bags for all.
Always try to create an environment of equality with everyone getting similar equipment, snacks, treatment, etc. Kids can lose their cool over the smallest differences.
The Bed Time
Why is there a bedtime at a sleepover, you may ask? Because they are children who need their rest. While you can extend the school night sleeping time a little, it is best to inform your child and all others that it will be "Lights-off" at a certain time.
This makes sure that no one is overworked, tired, or dozing off while others are enjoying. This will also streamline all activities and keep everyone involved till they go to sleep.
Planned To Perfection
The devil is in the details, for planning the best sleepover ever, you must plan, communicate and understand what the little ones expect. The rest is up to you and your ability to stay calm and let them enjoy each other’s company. Good luck!