Should you let your kids sleep over at a friend’s house? Probably not unless you know the parents very well and agree with their standards. We all can think of times we spent the night somewhere else and got into things we should not have. Now with the lure of the Internet and other forms of media, your kids could come back home very different than when they left. It sounds like a radical idea to limit your children’s sleepovers, but you work so hard to create an encouraging atmosphere in your home, so it makes sense to be as vigilant about what your kids are exposed to out of it.
But, that does not preclude you from having killer sleepovers at your house where you can keep an eye on everything. Here are 10 ways to host an awesome sleepover:
1. The Other Parents
Another parent trusts you to care for their child. Make sure to find out exactly what they expect from you. Are there certain types of movies they do not approve of? Do they allow their child to eat sweets? Would they appreciate an update by phone or text? Ask for and follow the wishes of the parents who are allowing their child to spend time in your home.
The sleepover has no chance of success without the right mix of children. Compatibility is essential. Talk to your child about the kids he/she would like to invite. Help them determine which children would all get along for such a long period.
What to do at a sleepover? Activities are a must. Boredom will kill the party and then cause problems for everyone involved. Research various games for sleepovers. The list is almost unlimited. Movies, board games and video games are also welcome ideas. Plan ahead and allot a certain amount of time for each activity. Children thrive with structure.
4. Food, Snacks and Beverages
With all the fun stuff to do at a sleepover, don’t forget the kids need to eat. Avoid food and drinks that contain loads of sugar. Food can be fun and delicious and still be nutritious. Some sweets are ok, but balance them out with healthy treats as well. The trick to children and healthy food is making it fun. Research the many websites dedicated to doing just that.
5. Allergies, Pets and Medical Conditions
Your slumber party will come to a screeching halt if you do not investigate beforehand the special needs of the invited children. Do any of the children have specific allergies that need to be addressed? Are there medications they need to be given at designated times? How about your pets? Are any of the children afraid of animals? There is no need to avoid having children with special needs at the party. Just make sure you know exactly what they need and have the means to provide it.
6. Designated “Party Zone”
Set clear boundaries where the children are allowed to be in your home. It is a good idea to block off a certain part of the house to be reserved for the other family members. Take the children around the home and show them exactly where they are or are not allowed to be. You need to eliminate the chances of a child wandering off. The best idea is to keep the party contained to the living room, kitchen and a bathroom. If the party will also be outside, always be sure to have an adult present constantly.
Sleepover pictures will be cherished forever. Take as many as you can. A cool activity idea would be to have the children make their own photo album to take home. Some paper, hole punch, ribbon and imagination is all that is required. The next morning print out select pictures and have the kids paste them in their albums. They will have a lifelong reminder of the great time they had.
Children always love theme parties and having the chance to dress up. It could be a luau, a pirate party, a princess party or anything you can dream of. Be creative. Design the sleepover games around your theme. The idea is to have fun, no matter what you decide.
9. Give The Kids Space
So here is a tricky one. You are completely and 100% responsible for each of the children. Yet, they really don’t want you around at every moment. You do not want to hover constantly over the party. This is a big moment of independence for the children being away from home. Let them have their space, but discreetly always have your eyes and ears clued in.
10. Relax and Enjoy
Hosting a party can be very stressful. The planning, the cost and everything associated with pulling it off successfully. Try not to forget the reasons you are doing it in the first place. Mainly, you are providing a wonderful opportunity for your child to bond with his or her friends. Also, a lifelong memory will be created. Relax and enjoy yourself, and take comfort in knowing what you are doing is a very good thing.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife tonight and ask her: What do you think about hosting a sleepover for our children’s friends?