Does the thought of 10 kids sleeping over at your house all on the same night freak you out? Do you picture getting zero sleep because you have to deal with said kids all night long? Do you picture food, drink, toys and junk exploding all over your house? Yeah, I did, too. Then I figured out some ways to make a birthday slumber party a great experience for the kids and for me. Learn from the Slumber Party Sensei’s dos and don’ts, and take a cue from these party tips.
Don’t have a slumber party until all the kids are at least 7 years old, can understand/follow rules, communicate well and be away from home without being too homesick. Make sure you get cell phone numbers of all parents and that they will be available, if needed.
Do find out about any special needs by talking to parents one-on-one. For instance, if a kid wears a Pull-Up overnight and wants it to be kept secret, do all you can to make that happen. And if this is a kid’s first slumber party, you won’t be surprised if he comes to you wanting to go home close to bedtime.
Do have everyone bring his own pillow and sleeping bag or you will be washing all your stuff the whole next day. I never have enough pillows for everyone, so they have to use rolled-up towels.
Do have a game plan for activities, food, etc. Nerf gun wars, crafts, board games and movies work great depending on if you have boys or girls over and what their ages are.
Do set the ground rules. No eating outside the kitchen. No sneaking out. No texting after a certain time. In fact, consider collecting all cell phones in a basket after a certain time. They can stay up and watch movies (turn the volume down) as long as they want.
Do make food and drink easy. Pizza is the perfect slumber party food, and if you’re really daring you can let them build their own (using a pre-made crust, of course … I’m not COMPLETELY insane!). Clear juice in pouches or boxes is awesome. You’ll have a lot of little people and you don’t want them hopped up on caffeine or spilling soda all over the place. If you have older girls over, you might let them make and decorate cupcakes, as long as they clean up after themselves.
Do leave the kids alone. They don’t want you hanging around, and this gives you the chance to have a real conversation with your spouse, make some calls, do some scrapbooking or start some other crazy project (like cleaning out your closet).
Do check in from time to time because kids are naughty by nature. This is a good time to pretend like you’re a spy. Buy some binoculars. Just kidding!
Don’t have a tent sleepover in the backyard. We tried this for about five minutes once until someone told me two kids were plotting to sneak over to the park across the street in the middle of the night. Trust me, you do NOT want to be “that parent” who loses the kids or lets them run wild in the neighborhood!
Do have everyone pick up before they go home!
Kerrie McLoughlin (mom of five kids) has tons of slumber parties at her house.