Wanting to do something different from a traditional kids birthday party? Why not try a Slumber Party
- What age will my child be ready for a slumber party
Every child is different but around 7 or 8 years old is when most will be ready for a slumber party with their friends or when your child begins to ask for a slumber party.
To ensure that all children feel comfortable you should have an opt out policy where the children can be picked up around bed time or even a half sleep over where they can come dressed in their pyjamas and play games but go home before bed time or around 9pm is usually a good time.
- Limit the guest list
Start small with maybe one to three guests and build up to a larger number as you get the hang of sleepovers. But if you have more experience with kids and two responsible adults on hand for the whole evening jump right in and have six to 10 stay over.
- Honour your guests parents
The success of your sleepover is directly proportional to the amount of information shared both outgoing and incoming. Invitations should clearly state drop-off and pickup times, whether meals are included, what kids should bring (sleeping bag, pillow), a little info about supervision and any planned activities, plus a contact number.
Talk to the other parents about their child’s sleepover experience, food allergies and nighttime habits. For example, some parents may expect a phone call before bed.
If your child is the one sleeping over, don’t be coy about his nighttime-wetting issues or fear of the dark. It will come out anyway, and a prepared host parent can handle the situation positively and discreetly.
- Don’t offer sugary treats or heavy foods an hour before bedtime
Mini-pizzas, veggies and dip, fresh fruit, pretzels, popcorn and other light, nut-free foods and snacks are wise choices. And of course, avoid any food that might upset someone’s already nervous, away-from-home tummy.
- Be relaxed about the activities
Encourage, but don’t force anyone to play the games and do the crafts.Keep lots of books and magazines on hand so that kids who don’t want to do the activity can still hang out and feel comfortable. The best activities allow everyone to get involved — unlike a video game, say, where only one or two can play.
Good ideas include: decorating cupcakes or making sundaes, watching age-appropriate, non-scary movies, creating a dance routine or video, playing board games and making forts, if you have ample couch cushions.
- Be near by and have a code
Keep younger kids within hearing distance on the same floor as you, with older kids in the basement or a separate recreation room and check in every 15 to 30 minutes. Also recommend developing a code phrase that your child can say to you if things are getting out of control or a guest is having trouble. The phrase could be as simple as “What time is it?” That way you can step in and help, but no one feels singled out.
- Honor the level sleeping field
A circle of sleeping bags on a living room or bedroom floor, space permitting means everyone is connected and equal. Plus this prevents kids from falling on each other from a bed, and squelches arguments about who gets to sleep where.
- Make sleep possible
There is never any hope of a regular bedtime, or that sleep will come even with lights out. That said there are a few things you can do to get the kids to sleep at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. Let them know when lights out will occur and what’s expected of them. Dim the lights leading up to that time, and possibly hand out flashlights once the lights are off. If the giggling hasn’t stopped well into the wee hours, consider sleeping with them yourself or laying down the law.
- Expect the unexpected
Have extra sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and toiletries available. Gauvin says toothbrushes are forgotten most. Almost all of the parents we talked to had also primed their guests’ parents to expect a phone call in case their child got homesick or out of control. Some even recommend having a sign-in sheet so contact numbers are easy to find at 3 a.m.