Sleepovers are the bane of many parents’ Saturday night. Millions of children, running around your house, high on an assortment of E-numbers and refusing to go to bed until they have watched, and loudly sung-along with, Moana for the 13th time. Ok, we exaggerate! Sleepovers can actually be pretty stress-free providing you put in a small amount of planning before the event kicks off, and here are some of our top tips:
Keep the numbers small, really 3 or 4 friends maximum. Otherwise you will find your house overtaken by children, and have nowhere to put them.
Which leads us onto sleeping spaces. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a palatial palace, it’s pretty much guaranteed that space to house the children will be limited. If your child is partial to a sleep over, it may be a good idea to invest in children’s sleepover beds. Trundle and high sleeper beds provide an extra bed tucked away underneath your child’s bed, but without taking up loads of room. However, if that is not possible, then blow-up beds or z-beds are easy to assemble and can be stored away relatively quickly. If needs be, you may want to relocate the sleeping area to the living room, as this will probably have a bit more floor space to lay out all the various beds.
Coming up with a theme is a fantastic way to make the sleepover even more special. Depending on the current obsession of your little one and their friends, themes can be anything. If it is princess themed, then perhaps ask all the children to turn up dressed as their favourite princess, help them to make princess cupcakes and set them up with an array of princess films. Or if Lego is the flavour of the day, then start a Lego challenge, pouring a box of Lego into the middle of the floor and ask everyone to make their own creation, winner gets a prize. This can be followed by Lego themed food, such as Lego pizza (simply buy pepperoni pizza and cut into rectangles, rearranging the pepperoni slices to resemble a Lego piece).
Whilst children can undoubtedly make their own entertainment, providing a few choice activities will help to give a bit of extra excitement to the entire event. Perhaps get everyone involved in making their dinner, providing pizza bases and lots of toppings for them to choose from or for the sweeter-toothed child (which, let’s face it, they all are) do the same with ice cream and a variety of wonderful toppings. In the summer months, try to make use of any outside space, encouraging outdoor activities, like a big game of hide and seek in the garden. If things are getting a bit hectic, then a quiet, craft activity is a good idea, such as shrunken crisp packet keyrings.
Whilst sugary treats cannot be avoided, try to keep them to a minimum by mixing in some healthy snacks too, like veggies and dips, or fruit. Also, make sure that any food you do provide is super simple to make. Avoid elaborate Heston Blumenthal style 3 course dinners (who are we kidding, right?) and go for easy to cook options like jacket potatoes or spaghetti bolognaise.
A tricky one to negotiate, but setting a clear bedtime is a good idea. They will still probably stay up for hours, giggling and telling ghost stories, but at least they are in one room and not running havoc throughout your house whilst you try to get some much-needed sleep.