Overnight Success: Sleepovers 101
The sleepover was a rite of friendship passage for me growing up. I still remember wrapping up in a towel and leaping off my friend’s bed reenacting Dove soap commercials. Her home felt like my home, her mother like another to me. Now that I am the mother, I love hosting sleepovers. There is something so sweet about the blankets piled high, the endless flow of snacks, and giggles. Delightfully nostalgic, I’ve embraced sleepovers and discovered the best practices for nights to remember.
Food … Glorious Food
Food is central to the sleepover. What do your children’s guests like to eat? Do they have any allergies? What snacks could be available that your kids can easily offer their guests? Popcorn, fruit, and string cheese are some of my favorites. Your child will love to be the hostess-with-the-mostess as she offers a selection of nibbles that you have already selected and laid out. Remember you will likely be feeding the whole gang dinner and breakfast. What will everyone enjoy to eat and let’s not forget easy to clean? This might be a good time for paper products.
Check with the parents of your guests to determine how to best help their child if they miss Mommy or Daddy. Is there a special blanket? Can we offer a FaceTime call? I personally always sleep on the couch in the same room with the children, in the case a Mommy is needed.
For little ones especially, evening baths are not on the agenda. Have the conversation with the parents to ensure an understanding of expectations. Only children I know very well and know the parents very well, and have very dirty sweaty children, will I bathe. If the kids are old enough, they are welcome to bathe. I speak with the parents in advance about this and ensure they are okay with it.
Activities and Toys
Have a conversation with your kids in advance about what special toys they may not want to bring out for the sleepover. If there is a new train model kit or doll that they are not ready to share, it may be best to have that stored in your room for the night. Kids are often happy playing in their rooms, showing off the toys they DO want to share. You may want to have some ideas on hand if you want to have some structured indoor options, such as Shrinky Dinks, water color painting, slime making, puzzles, or bead crafts. Kids may want to be outside as well, have plenty of balls and all the scooters and bikes on the ready!
The best part of all for the kids will be the actual set up for the sleep. They are not going to want to fall asleep, but they sure will love piling blankets or making a tent to spend a portion of their evening. Where will everyone sleep? My children love the living room, falling asleep to a movie. And will guests bring their own sleeping bags and pillows? I always keep many extras on hand to keep the carpeted floor extra cozy.
The Next Morning
As I keep mentioning, planning is key to having a seamless sleepover. The next morning includes: breakfast, packing, and pick up. What would the children like to have for breakfast and in that same line of thought, what will be easiest on Mom? You may not have gotten the best night’s sleep, be sure to have a turnkey plan for feeding the gang. Help all the kids find their personal belongings and discuss in advance when they will be picked up from your home. It is perfectly acceptable to have an established pick up time so that everyone knows when the fun must come to an end.
You are capable and creative! You will be able to handle and respond to anything that pops up. Wear your comfiest clothes, enjoy the laughter, and take lots of pictures!