If you have kids, the time will come when you’ll need to host a sleepover, the single most ironically-named social occasions there is. Some of our team are all-nighter veterans, so here are a few of their tips for safety, fun – and your own sanity!
- Limit the number to a small handful of close friends, unless it’s a very special occasion – and don’t give in to pressure! Make sure you have a parental contact number for every child, stored in your phone for quick access. Even the most outgoing children can feel anxious at night in a strange room, so we’d suggest 7 or 8 as the youngest age for sleepovers.
- Communicate clearly with other parents: are there any issues, allergies, quirks or other nocturnal routines you should know about? Should children eat before they come over or will you give them dinner?
- Minimise your workload by keeping spare bedding clean and fresh in readiness – the Night Owl duvet is the perfect piece of sleepover kit for all ages. Roll it out (no need for duvet covers), then put it in the washing machine the next day and you’re done!
- Lay down a few ground rules with your own child before guests arrive. As ‘host’, it’s their job to look out for their friends and make sure no-one’s left out of the fun. Encourage them to talk to you if they’re bothered by anything, but also keep a discreet eye out yourself for any child who looks withdrawn or uncomfortable.
- This isn’t like a birthday party: you don’t have to organise EVERYTHING! The older the children, the more they’ll entertain themselves. Tweens gossip, use phones, watch movies and play on games consoles – and those late-night whispers and giggles are great for social bonding. Give them some space.
- The pre-agreed bedtime will soon be forgotten, but don’t get too stressed about it. A bit of guile helps here: if you mean 1am, say midnight. Be firm, but fair – this is a treat, after all – but other family members need to sleep too.
- And remember – be clear about that all-important pick-up time the next day! Your idea of ‘whenever’ might be by 11am: another parent might think late afternoon. It also helps kids be primed and ready to go without anyone feeling they’ve been picked up too early or late. If it’s a Saturday night sleepover, the whole family needs some decent rest-time on the Sunday.
The secret to sleepover success is one we all use as parents: prepare well, then appear effortlessly spontaneous, accommodating and fun when the children arrive.
And you can never have too many spare toothbrushes.