1. Parenting

Have A Kid Sleepover That's Fun and Snooze-Worthy

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Teenage girls at slumber party
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Slumber parties are a fun tradition and a rite of passage of growing up, and how quickly parties at McDonald's or Chuck E. Cheese turn into requests for a sleepover. Whether the occasion is summer fun, birthday party, holiday break, or socializing through an enrichment activity, here are some slumber party ideas to make sure the sleepover is fun, hassle-free, and ends with a snooze!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Just a trip to the grocery store and organization at home

Here's How:

  1. Preparation and planning are keeping for a successful sleepover. A good slumber party idea is to gather essential supplies and have them ready for comfort and convenience of your young guests. Stock extra sleeping bags, air mattresses, clean sheets, pillowcases, pillows, blankets, towels, washclothes and have them readily available.
  2. Make sure the bathroom is guest ready. A slumber party idea that gets thumbs up is having extra rolls of toilet paper, tissue, disposable water cups, extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, full soap dispensers, and even extra hair accessories. It's amazing how much toilet paper young kids can go through...so also have a plunger ready...just in case!
  3. Discuss with your kids in advance as to which of their toys and possessions are to be shared and which ones need to be put away. Once decisions are reached, it's a good slumber party planning idea to enforce "no changes."
  4. Provide kids with a mini-tour at the outset as a successful slumber party idea, so all guests know which bathrooms are to be used and where they are to be located, where extra linens are kept, any rooms that should not be entered, and any rules that need to be followed.
  5. It's a fun slumber party idea to offer a basket with an assortment of stuffed animals for kids to cuddle with at night. Believe it or not, even some tweens to teens still like to snuggle with something at night, either for comfort, as a keepsake, or because it becomes something fun to do at the sleepover.
  6. Plan some fun and original activities. It's a good slumber party idea to keep overnighters busy with activities, so that there is no time to be bored. Games, relays, hair sessions, jumping on the trampoline, swimming in the backyard pool, or playing basketball or soccer in the driveway, are just a few thoughts for starters.
  7. Have lots of drinks at their disposal. The "bag" juice drinks or small soda cans are practical at parties, as half the drink ends up being wasted. Consider keeping an ice chest packed with drinks and water and encourage kids to help themselves as they become thirsty. Only offer water as it gets close to bedtime.
  8. Plan for rampant cases of the muchies, and have a variety of snacks to offer guests. In addition to expected treats such as sweets or beloved junk food, offer an array of tempting fruits and vegetables with dip. As a slumber party idea of experience, avoid serving messy food or sugar-ladden types that promise that the kids will certainly go into a frenzy.
  9. Encourage your kid to serve as the "host" or "hostess" and practice some key roles in advance that can be accomplished without your hovering. If the guests will want popcorn, a practical slumber party idea is to teach your kids how to pop it in the microwave in advance and dish it up to friends. Have plastic bowls and potholders right by.
  10. Check lighting and temperature comfort in advance where kids will be staying, and secure any valuables or breakables that you'd be heartbroken to see smashed.
  11. Music is always a favorite slumber party idea. A CD-player and popular tunes can provide an hour or more of entertainment with certain age groups.
  12. Think creativity and fun for a slumber party idea success. Consider making a "video movie" starring the guests after PJs are on. Or, how about a flashlight walk around the block after dark or a backyard scavenger hunt?
  13. If possible, talk with parents as they drop off their kids about whether their kid is susceptible to homesickness, and steps to take if this becomes an issue.
  14. Rent a movie in advance of the sleepover that is age appropriate that can be a "winding down" time.
  15. Plan a special breakfast the next morning as a slumber party idea that promises that kids will leave with full bellies and smiles on their faces. Combine beloved donut holes and yogurt cups or make homemade waffles served with fresh fruit. Or, mix up a "make it yourself" breakfast bar with tempting treats that kids smack their lips over.

Tips:

  1. It is always a practical slumber party idea to keep the number of guests to even-number so there is no "odd kid out."
  2. Structure helps set the pace for the evening. Discuss with your kid what he or she would like to do, and help to accomplish that. However, it's not practical to play a computer game if 8 kids are present, so activities need to be appropriate for number of kids attending.
  3. Set expectations with your children in advance of sleepover. It is a sound slumber party idea for parents to establish a bedtime (c'mon, let it be later than usual bedtime), then ask kids to help enforce it. The whines and cries often start about the time over-exhaust sets in.
  4. Keep the number of guests small. A rule of thumb for parties is to limit the guests to the age of the child, but for sleepovers, the recommendation is often to "halve that number." The best idea for ensuring a successful slumber party is to think small, and then plan big so that needs are met before they are even established.
  5. Relax, enjoy the kids, and just resign yourself that you're not going to have your best night's sleep. Sleepovers can help to build friendships and foster independence among kids, and all too soon, your nest will be empty. The best slumber party idea is to have fun with them and relish the smiles!

What You Need

  • Extra linens, pillows, blankets, and miscellaneous bedding
  • Back-up toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, hair accessories
  • Drinks...lots of them! Kids go through a lot of drinks, but limit caffeine
  • Snacks galore: think finger foods and individually-wrapped items
  • Comfort "snuggles" for kids at night (even some tweens like them)
  • Pre-planned activities with all materials handy
  • Age-appropriate movie to watch near bedtime
  • Disposable or plastic cups, plates, silverware for ease
  • Positive attitude and sense of adventure with the kids
  • Parent-child understanding about rules and "do's and dont's"
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