Hosting sleepovers is an art form – just ask any parent who’s done it. It’s all about creativity backed up by solid planning, and there’s no single way to go about it.
Like any true art, hosting sleepovers takes practice to master – but if it’s your first time, don’t worry. Once you get the essentials down, you can plan your way to hosting a sleepover that’ll strengthen the bond between you and your daughter, as well as her bond with her friends.
It’s a true and worthy challenge for any good parent to undertake.
How Ready is Your Daughter?
Sleepovers can be a magical experience for tiny girl squads, but before everything else, ask yourself: is your daughter ready to host a sleepover?
A good way to gauge this is to just wait for your daughter to ask if she can have one. Girls aged 7 to 9 years old are the ones typically inclined to the idea of sleepovers. If you’re the one who wants her to have this experience, see how she reacts to the suggestion of a sleepover with some of her closest friends.
It’s going to be pretty easy to tell if she’s ready or not.
If she simply objects and doesn’t bring up the idea again, you’re off the hook. If she gets excited and even starts suggesting activities that she and her friends can do, then you’ve got some work to do.
Give yourself at least an entire week to plan a proper sleepover. It may sound like a huge amount of time but it gives you and everyone involved (especially other children’s parents) enough time to put the sleepover in their calendars.
It is, of course, possible to plan sleepovers in 2 to 3 days, but only do that if you have enough free time on your hands. Otherwise, it might get too stressful.
Plan it With Your Daughter
Kids are honest but impulsive. They’ll tell you what they want, but what they want can change at the drop of a hat. So sit your daughter down and make a list about how she wants the sleepover to happen.
Explain to her how planning in advance can help you make the sleepover run a lot more smoothly and make if more fun for her and her friends. Here are some good questions that can help you both make good sleepover decisions:
- How many girls are coming over?
- What time is it going to start? (Ideally, don’t start too early. Starting at 5 to 6PM is enough time for them to have some fun and be worn out by bedtime)
- What kind of food do you want served? (Pizza is a foolproof way to satisfy restless kids on a sleepover high.)
- What kind of activities do you want to do? (There are literally hundreds of sleepover activities that you and your daughter can check out online.)
- What do you want for breakfast in the morning? (Waffles, bacon, and eggs are always magical treats to wake up to after a tiring night of sleepover activities.)
Base your plans around your kid’s answers to these questions. Negotiate around the things that you can and can’t do.
Plan it With the Parents
Coordination with the parents of the kids that are coming over is absolutely essential to lessening the stress of everyone involved. Apart from drop-off and pick-up schedules, here are a couple good questions to ask the parents:
- Is your child allergic to any food or restricted to certain diets?
- Does your child have assigned medication to take at specific times?
- Does your child have special or potentially embarrassing conditions? (That you can watch for to save the kid from embarrassment)
- Should children bring their own sleeping bags and pillows?
- What can they do to help with any sleepover logistics? (child transportation via carpooling, bringing food and snacks, supplies for activities, etc.)
This sleepover is as much an experience for their children as it is for yours. Work together to make it the best experience it can be for the kids.
Finish the Rest of the Planning: Get in Touch With Your Creative Side
Considering all the advice from your child, her friends, and their parents, you can finish the planning yourself. Remember that your goals are simple: let the kids have fun, and wear them out before bedtime.
Here are a couple suggestions to doing just that:
Got a big oven at home?
Have the kids make their own pizzas. It’s going to make a mess in the kitchen, but the fun of choosing their own toppings is going to be worth it. It’s also a good way to compromise for kids on special diets – they can handpick the ingredients that they can actually eat.
To show them how it’s done, do it yourself at first – serve them several small pizzas with different topic combinations, and then just let them have at it (under adult supervision, of course).
Set up one big room in your home as a ‘sleep cave’.
Set all the furniture aside and lay down some thick and clean carpets and blankets. Make sure the floor area’s big enough for all the girls to sleep on comfortably. Set up makeshift tents by hooking blankets to strings on the ceiling. Fill it up with as many pillows as you can.
Set up the ceiling with string lights that look like stars at night. Try to make the most legendary pillow and blanket fort you can make. The idea is to create a magical, comfortable place that’s impossible not to fall asleep in. Try to keep the place a secret until bedtime.
Those are just some of the hundreds of possible stuff that you can do to ensure that your daughter’s first sleepover is a magical and memorable one.
Appreciate Your Awesome Parenting
As the parent, you’re going to be doing a lot of work. Prepare to get tired. But also, consider the fact that you’re giving these children memories that they’ll cherish forever.
When the time comes that they grow up into hard working adults, they’ll no doubt reminisce about their awesome childhood sleepover experiences. You’re going to be responsible for those priceless memories.
So, in between cleaning up after the kids or preparing face paint for the next sleepover activity, take the time to appreciate the smile on your daughter’s face. All the time and effort that you’re going to put into her first sleepover will be well worth it.
Savvy online marketer with an obsession towards floating bed (been trying to make one himself). Rienzi is expert in becoming good enough at everything and a self claimed woodworking pro. He’s the guy who’s trying to make One Bed Mattress a smashing hit.