Family Travel

Surviving Your Kid’s Slumber Party

 10 tips to surviving your child’s slumber party!

Does the thought of 10 kids sleeping over at your house all on the same night freak you out? Do you imagine getting zero sleep because you have to deal with said kids all night long? Do you picture food and drink and toys and junk exploding all over your house? Yeah, I did, too. Then I figured out some ways to make it a great experience for the kids AND for me.

1. Don’t even think about having a slumber party until all of the kids are at least seven, can understand rules, communicate well, and can be away from home without being too homesick.

2. Do make sure you get home and cell phone numbers for all parents. (You might just be calling some at 2 am.)

3. 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… or even shortly after all the other kids have fallen asleep and he’s still awake and freaking OUT. It’s okay; his parents are probably expecting your call.

4. Do have everyone bring their own pillow and sleeping bag, or you will be washing all your stuff the whole next day. Also, I never have enough pillows for everyone and they have to use rolled-up towels.

5. Do have a game plan for activities, food, etc. Nerf gun wars, Shrinky Dinks and movies work great depending on if you have boys or girls over and what their ages are.

6. Do set the ground rules. No eating outside the kitchen. No sneaking out. No prank calling (or texting!). You don’t want parents calling you in the middle of the night because your little charges are messing around on the phone. They can stay up and watch TV (on a different floor if possible!) as long as they want.

7. 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 can clean up after themselves.

8. 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 phone calls, do some scrapbooking or start some other crazy project.

9. Do check in from time to time because kids are naughty by nature. When you’re not casually walking by to get a glass of milk or take out the trash or whatever your excuse, go ahead and act like a spy. Buy some binoculars. (Just kidding. Seriously, you’ll learn more by listening carefully anyway. Glass to the wall? That’s good.)

10. 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.

by Kerrie McLoughlin


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