Hosting their first Sleepover experience, can be a daunting task, but we've rounded up some of the best tips around on how to create a relaxing, cosy and stress-free sleepover party for your little ones.
Create the invitations
Before embarking on hosting your first sleepover party, it’s always a good idea to ensure that you’ve created proper invites, along with instructions on what to bring. – Favourite teddies, films and pyjamas are all common things to expect to bring along as a sleepover guest. Ensure that you have any emergency contact details for each child, as well as a list of allergies/food intolerances before the day. It’s sensible to have all of this info before beginning the planning stage. For a first sleepover, we’d recommend limiting the number of guests to one or two closest friends. Start small, and if a success, consider a few more next time around, if space allows!
Create a cosy autumnal den
The main aim of a sleepover for many parents is for their children to have fun, with friends, in a safe environment with minimal chaos and maximum sleeping! To create a comfy, snuggly home-from-home atmosphere, collate any spare cosy blankets, cushions and bedding, and create some fun dens in the designated sleepover room. Drape blankets over sofas, or airers for a secret hideaway den space to help set the scene.
Establish some ground rules
Perhaps it’s the number of films they watch, or maybe the time lights go out, whatever the rule, establishing them early in the evening helps set expectations, and reminds the children of who’s in charge!
Prepare some good old fashioned games to play
Early in the evening, it’s a great idea to have a few games up your sleeve to help redirect their energy. Depending upon the ages of the children involved, memory tray games using found autumn objects such as pine cones, acorns, leaves and pumpkins work well and are straight forward and inexpensive to prepare in advance. Other ideas include painting or decorating their own pumpkins, indoor treasure hunts (as long as you don’t mind the littlies exploring other rooms of your home of course!) and good old fashioned board games. If the sleepover is around Halloween, there are lots of traditional board games on the market with a super scary twist to them.
Have some classic autumn films at the ready
Nothing beats memory making, and films can help create a sense of nostalgia and warmth, even for little ones. Ask the sleepover attendees to tell you their favourite movie in advance, and download to have them at the ready for back-up activities and pre-slumber down time.
Prepare a Midnight Feast
Making sure that you’re aware of any allergies beforehand, consider holding a Midnight Feast for older children, or for little ones, a cosy supper may be more appropriate.
Pumpkin muffins, homemade pizzas (you could even try this as a fun activity beforehand using pitta breads for bases), corn on the cob, baked potatoes and popcorn are all seasonal goodies that should go down a storm.
Our top tip for hosting anything food related, would be to keep the eating restricted to a different room from the sleeping; so a kitchen or dining room are ideal. This helps keep mess to a minimum, and also helps to keep some routine, for example, brushing teeth after, etc.
Have a plan
Planning makes perfect (we can but try!). and in the case of Sleepovers there are some things to consider upfront. - For children that may be a bit apprehensive about staying away from their parents, perhaps having a favourite teddy to hand, or a quick Skype or Facetime call mid way through the evening could help put their mind at rest. It can be a good idea to ask the sleepover attendees to bring their own bedding, which can help prevent accidents. Know who to contact in an emergency, and encourage parents to stay for a coffee whilst the children get settled.
For the morning, it's likely there'll be a few tired faces around, (including your own!), so having a hearty breakfast prepared the night before will save time and stress in the morning. Quick wins such as overnight oats, warm porridge, and even straight forward jam and toast laid out on the table will help with any morning blues.
Lastly, enjoy the experience! Children's sleepovers are a true rite of passage, and are intended to be fun, low key gatherings for all to enjoy. The good news is that once you've hosted one, there won't be another for a while as your child is likely to be invited by the other kids to their own!
If you're planning to have regular sleepovers, and fancy something a little more sturdy than a blow up mattress or camp bed, check out our range of children's beds with sleepover trundles, for an instant, sturdy sleepover solution that can be immediately rolled out, set up and quickly packed away again.