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Sleepover Tips

As a parent of two children I have heard many times the question "Can I have a sleepover?"  You of course answer "sure" but often with regret.  Remember that sleepovers can help to build friendships, and foster independence.  So follow our helpful hints below and get your sleepover off to a good start.

NIGHT -- TIME -- NUMBER...

The best night for a sleepover is Friday.  Kids are normally tired from a busy week and it practically guarantees a sleepy crowd.  In addition, it gives everyone Saturday and Sunday to catch up on their sleep.

Keep the number of guests to even-number so there is no "odd kid out."

Set a specific time for pick-up.  Sleepover does not mean that the kids stay all day too.  An appropriate time to have parents come to get their child is 10:00.

It is important to set a time for lights out, let the kids know in advance, and stick to it.  You really do not want them up all night.  Remember they will not put themselves to bed so try turning out the lights and staying close by for a while to make sure they settle down. 

HELP -- ACTIVITIES -- MOVIES...

Consider having teenage siblings/neighbors/friends give you a helping hand.  The girls will love the attention of the older kids and it will be a big help for you.

Plan some activities that will keep the kids busy early in the nigh.  Remember activities need to be appropriate for number of kids attending.

  1. Flashlight tag is always fun and will keep them outside running for a while.

  2. Consider doing a red-carpet walk for a girls party.  Purchase red felt at the fabric store or red tablecloth from the party store and make a red carpet.  Put out a tube of clothes, boas, hats, shoes, gloves-- anything with shine or glitter.   Have the girls pick a famous person and then dress accordingly.   Have the girls walk the carpet -- with microphone in hand interview them and find out who they are, what they did to be at the awards and who designed their dress.  Be sure to have a video camera ready and rolling.  The movie will be a great thing for them to do later in the night.

  3. Plan deal or no deal with a spin.   Set up three boxes on a table (vary the size and wrap in cool paper).   You will need the space to hide your goodies so be sure to cover the table to the floor.  Hide prizes under each box - some prizes should be nice others should be gag gifts.  Have the first person select a box  show them their prize and then you ask if they would like to "deal or no deal".  Give them the option of  trading their prize for another box of YOUR choice -- make it sound appealing.  They get one time to trade and then move on to the next person. Gag gift ideas: dog's rawhide bone,  old sock, work glove, an empty box of candy etc...

  4. Karaoke is always fun -- the kids love to sing.

  5. Twister is a fun game for kids of all ages.

  6. Have them make their own snack like chocolate covered pretzels or ice cream sundaes.

  7. Have them decorate pillowcases.  Hand out felt-tipped fabric pens, and white pillowcases.  Slip cardboard inside each case to keep the ink from seeping through.  Have the kids decorate their cases and then have everyone sign them.

  8. Have them play cell phone hide and seek.  A person hides and then randomly sends text messages to friends to give clues to their hiding spot.  This works great outside because there is a big area for them to hide.

  9. A scavenger hunt is enjoyed by kids of all ages.  This again is great if you can orchestrate it with clues that will send them inside and out side of the house.

  10. Three blind mice -- Buy a number of unique party favors to fit the personality of the kids -- make sure you have a few extra to make the game work.  For my daughter's birthday we selected nail polish, a jewelry case, make up, hair ribbons etc. We wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with pretty ribbons.  They were all placed in large basket.  The basket was then hidden and the first girl was blind folded.  Her friends then gave her directions to lead her to the hidden treasure.  Once she found it before she removed her blindfold she picked something from the basket.  That person then picked who would go next and the game continued until everyone had a turn.  The kids loved it!!!

  11. Have them make a no-sew pillow.  Compliments of FamilyFun.com

  • Making this cuddly pillow is so quick and easy, it's like performing a magic trick. What's the secret? Knots. The pieces are tied together (fleece fabric needs no hemming), which makes this gift simple enough to complete in an afternoon, and cute enough to give to a best friend or cousin.
     

  • CRAFT MATERIALS: Fleece, Scissors, Ruler, Chalk, Fiberfill.  Time Needed about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
     

  • Cut 2 identical heart shapes from the fleece use coordinating colors. To allow for a 4-inch fringe, be sure to cut the hearts 8 inches larger than you want your finished pillow. We cut ours 26 inches across and 22 inches long for an 18- by 14-inch pillow.

    step2On 1 fleece heart, use a ruler and chalk or a disappearing-ink pen to draw a heart 4 inches in from the edge of the fabric (see illustration). Measure and draw fringe that's about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long (up to the center heart, as shown).
    NOTE: CONSIDER DOING THE FIRST TWO STEPS IN ADVANCE AND HAVE THEM READY FOR EACH CHILD TO SAVE TIME.

    Stack the hearts with your chalk lines on top. Cut the fringe, through both layers of fleece, stopping at the center heart.

    Begin at the bottom point of the heart and tie the top piece of fringe to the bottom piece by double-knotting them. Continue up the side of the pillow. At the dip at the top, knot together the top 4 fringes (2 pairs) into 1 double knot to cinch the opening more tightly. Then go back to knotting just 2 fringes until only 4 pairs are untied.

    Stuff the heart with fiberfill. Tie the remaining fringes. Brush off any chalk that still shows. Ink lines should disappear according to the package directions.

    tipFor a twist on this gift: Try a different shape, such as this lion pillow. We knotted together squares of orange and yellow fleece and brought our king of the jungle to life with cord whiskers, and felt eyes and nose attached with tacky glue. For square pillows, cut off and discard the corner fringes before you begin knotting.

As the night goes on have some movies available to help settle the kids down.  You can start with their red-carpet movie and then move on to something that will interest everyone.  Click here for our movie section and get some great suggestions.

FOOD -- DRINKS...

Pizza or hamburgers/hot dogs are always safe ideas for dinner.

Have lots of drinks at their disposal.   Purchase the small size juice packs since many times it will be wasted.  Fill a cooler with drinks and encourage kids to help themselves.  Want to have some fun let them make smoothies or root beer floats.

Make breakfast easy and kid friendly.  Muffins, individual cereal boxes, bagels, yogurt, microwaveable pancakes, apple/orange juice,  and milk.

If it is a birthday try serving a pancake cake in the morning instead of the traditional cake at night.  Give each person a stack of pancakes and a choice of  maple syrup, chocolate sauce, fruit, or whipped cream.  Add candles and sing!!!

Lastly, enjoy the time with the kids and realize that you are not going to have a good nights sleep.