You Need This Sleepover Prep!

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Sleepovers are fun ... if they're not a nightmare! Be ready for the sleepless nights to come.

“Mom, can I have a sleepover? Abbi, Paige and a few others want to come over this weekend.” There it is. The question you’ve been hopelessly trying to avoid for years now. She’s older and her friends are persistent. Before you know it, they’ll asking to stay the night weekend after weekend. Even better? She’s gonna want to go to their house, too. Before you cave in on the first sleepover, prepare yourself.

Meet the Parents

Some moms won’t allow their children to stay the night at a friend’s house. “I don’t allow it, however I will let her friends stay over,” says Keisha Brown. “This is a really good question because it amazes me how some kids’ parents let them stay over and have NEVER met me.” She makes a good point. First thing you should do is meet the parents of all the children involved. If you feel comfortable leaving your children with them, they should feel the same about you. Invite them over to your house so they can get a feel for your home life. Local mom Bekah Wells agrees. “More often than not, my house is the gathering spot,” says Wells. “If there is even going to be a possibility of a sleepover I have to have met them a few times at least, and in different settings. I like to have them over to my house at least once, and then I will make a point to go to their house. I don’t care how nice you seem, if your house is not safe for my kids, they will not be spending the night,” she adds.

An important note: share phone numbers with the parents. Just in case of an emergency.

Meet the Kids

Allowing a child to stay the night may depend on a number of factors. When you go to meet the parents, don’t let the kids run off and hide. Plan a gathering where everyone is involved so you can see how the kids act. Another thing to think about is your child’s maturity level for a sleepover at a friend’s house. “My child’s age and maturity level are big ones because I want them to be able to tell me what went on while they were there,” says local mom Nicole Morgan Dowl. Also, do you know how well your child acts when you’re not around? Also, you can get a feel for the other kids’ temperament. 

Prepare Your Home

Make sure you’ve got everything you need to host a sleepover. Be sure that they are to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows, though. If there’s not enough room in your child’s room for all the kids, move the coffee table and allow them to spread out over the living room floor. Sure, you’ll have to forfeit watching your favorite show for the night (unless you go to your own bedroom), but they’ll have the room to move about without accidentally tripping over one another. Before this, however, be sure to remove big breakable things out of the way. An accident can happen and the child at fault will feel terrible and may not ever want to come back due to embarrassment.

Another good thing to have is a cleanup bucket. That way, if they make a mess, they have everything they need to clean it up. Put paper towels, a cleaning spray, wipes, etc. in a bucket to leave in the kitchen. Make sure they know where it is. Oh, and be sure there’s enough toilet paper in the bathroom!

Got Entertainment?

Break out all those board games and cards. Encourage them to have fun with those. Also, have Netflix ready for streaming, too. Otherwise, they’ll result to searching YouTube for weird videos on how to make slime!

Restock the Kitchen

Find out of any children coming over have food allergies. If so, it’s a good idea to wipe down your kitchen table and counters especially good before they come over. Also, stock up on their fave foods. Text the parents to see what their kids like. Don’t go crazy and get everything, but one or two from the majority faves is good. And be sure to have plenty to drink. Chatting all day and night sharing gossip will make them thirsty!

Ready Your Hideaway

Whether it be your bedroom or another room in the house, be sure you have all you need in there. The less you have to “interrupt” them, the better the chances of your child not getting frustrated with you. While you may at times want ear plugs due to all the high-pitched squeals and laughter, you need to be able to hear if something happens that needs your interference. You never know when one kid will start an argument with another. But, you’ll really want to make yourself scarce.

Send Siblings Away

While you’re preparing your home to open up to several other kids, your other children may feel left out. Boys might even want to sabotage the girls’ night or vice versa. So, see if your other children can spend the night with a friend themselves or a family member. One less thing you’ll have to worry about.

With these tips, your child’s first sleepover will be a hit and they’ll want to come back again and again.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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