There comes a time in every parent’s life where their child starts requesting to attend, and then to host, their own sleepovers.
So if you’re not sure what to do, where to start with planning, and how to avoid the dreaded whinge of “Mum we’re bored” read on! Here are some useful tips for planning kid’s sleepover.
1. Before the Sleepover
In most cases, but not always, sleepovers work best for children over the age of 8. At this age kids are a little bit more independent and most children have outgrown separation anxiety, bedwetting and other issues.
Whether it is a one-off sleepover or a more organised event such as a birthday party sleepover, it’s always a smart idea to speak with the parents of the children who are invited. You should discuss:
- Drop off and pick up arrangements including times
- What you have planned for the evening, in case they have issues
- Any medical conditions such as asthma or epilepsy
- If the children have any allergies and
- Swap contact details in the event of an emergency or plan change
If your child does have any of these issues – ensure you speak to the parent beforehand to plan for any little accidents.
2. Planning the Sleepover
One of the first things to consider is where they will sleep. You may need to rearrange some of the furniture to make room for mattresses, sleeping bags and pillows. The lounge room could be a good option if there are a few children staying, and it makes it easy to supervise. Make sure you have enough bedding and if not, ask parents of the guests to bring along a sleeping bag and pillow each. It may also be an idea to have a few spare toothbrushes handy in case any children forget theirs.
Many kids plan to eat ‘midnight snacks’ so make sure you have plenty of nibbles available. Don’t forget to consider any allergies and also sugar content so your guests aren’t bouncing off the ceiling well into the night. A few healthier options include popcorn, rice crackers or pretzels.
Younger siblings may feel left out so you will either need to include them in a few of the activities or plan something “special” for them such as staying at Grandma’s for the night, heading to their own sleepover, or heading out with one parent while the other watches the party.
3. Games and Activities
Watching movies is an age old sleepover favourite. If you are planning a movie night, make sure you have plenty of popcorn and that the movie is appropriate for their age group. Don’t make assumptions about PG-13 movies, as many parents hold strictly to them. If you are looking for activities that are a little different other than movies, here are a few fun sleepover games:
- Treasure Hunt Make a list of items you have hidden, either in the lounge room or the backyard. The child who finds the most items on the list wins!
- Twister This classic put your hand on the green spot or your foot on the yellow is fun for people of all ages, especially younger kids.
- Backwards Hide and Seek Instead of one child playing seeker, have one child who hides and the rest of the children play seeker!
Tweens and Teens
- Celebrity Heads Each person has a post-it note stuck to their forehead with the name of a celebrity. Taking turns they ask Yes or No questions until they can guess who they are. First person to guess is the winner!
- Selfie Time Have all the kids sit in a circle and set the timer on a camera. Each person must hold the camera in front of them at arm’s length before passing it onto the next person. Continue until the photo is taken, have a laugh and start again.
4. Dealing with Sleepover Anxiety
Do you remember sleeping at Grandma’s house when you were young, and they fell asleep on the couch and you were there, seemingly on your own….
Sleepover anxiety is very very common, especially when your child either hasn’t had a lot of experience sleeping anywhere but home, or staying with someone they haven’t stayed with before. It is always a good idea to give your child a mobile phone for the duration of the sleepover. Not only does this give you a bit of piece of mind before they can contact you at any time, but if in the middle of the night your child is anxious and wants to come home – they can.
And if you are the parent at the sleepover and a child wants to go home in the middle of the night, don’t take it personally – ensure that you contact the parent and explain the situation and make the child feel safe. Try again at a later date.
Activities that Cost Money During a Sleepover
If you’re looking for activities outside of the home, remember that it’s generally excepted that the host pays for costs unless it has been organised in advance that other parents will cover. For birthday parties, the host is usually the one that pays, but for general sleepovers it’s ok to ask for cash if you’ve let other parents know beforehand.
Of course, the most important thing to remember with sleepovers is to have fun! Let the kids run a little wild without totally losing it, and remember that if you host one sleepover, you might get a night off when another parent hosts one too!
Do your kids love having sleepovers? What games or activities and snacks do you plan?