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9 Sleepover Tips Every Parent Should Know

9 Sleepover Tips Every Parent Should Know

Parents naturally want to protect their kids and keep them safe and out of trouble. Trusting your kid will be safe at school or with babysitters can be hard enough, but when it comes to sleepovers—even with family and close friends—it can be difficult to let go and trust your kid to someone else’s care.

However, almost every child is going to want to spend the night at their best friends’ homes, go to an overnight camp, or have friends over for the night at your home at some point.

Mentally preparing yourself for sleepovers can make them easier to accept and much less stressful for both parents and kids alike. Here are a few sleepover tips so that slumber parties won’t make you pull your hair out..

1. Make sure your child is ready

As the parent, you will be the best judge of whether or not your child is ready for sleepovers, and whether or not a particular sleepover is a wise idea. Some kids may be perfectly fine at seven or eight while others might not be ready until their teen years.

If they don’t sleep easily on their own, if they wet the bed, or if they still wake up and come to your bed for comfort they might not be ready quite yet. Basically, they should have good “sleep skills” before attending sleepovers: able to fall asleep themselves without your help or much fuss and be able to sleep through the night with few interruptions.

You can always try out a few “late-overs” first (letting your child stay late but picking them up to sleep at home), or a sleepover with grandma or cousins to see how they handle being without you.

Some parents or kids may never be comfortable with sleepovers for whatever reason and that is fine, too. It’s ultimately a decision for you as a parent and you have to trust your gut.

Knowing if your child is ready

    2. Chat with fellow parents

    One of the best ways to have an easier time with sleepovers is to coordinate the details with fellow parents and get to know them in advance.

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    Think about it like this: do you know them well enough to loan them your car for a night? If you would have objections about giving them your keys then sending your kid over may not be wise!

    If you are the host, reach out to the parents via phone or in person, make sure you have their current contact information handy, ask if there are any allergies to be aware of, or if there are any other things you need to know about their stay with you. Make it clear if you are planning activities like swimming that would require special clothes or gear so there’s no upsets.

    If you are sending your kid to a sleepover, check in with the other parent let them know the same thing. See what the evening will entail so you know what to pack. You might also want to ask who else will be in the house, their house rules and supervision plans, and other important questions.

    For kids with dietary restrictions, it’s always appreciated (and less stressful for you) if you send a ready-made meal and a few safe snacks along with your kiddo. Other parents may not be savvy with gluten-free/nut-free meals, despite their best intentions, and it’s often easiest just to avoid that stress for both parties.

    Get Chatty With Fellow Parents

      3. Explain sleepover etiquette and safety to your child

      Whether you’re hosting or sending, explain the rules and boundaries of sleepovers ahead of time to your child.

      Minding manners, being polite, and respecting rules and the homes of host parents are important points to cover. Kids can get mischievous in groups, so making it clear that they are still subject to normal rules and consequences can be a good idea.

      Safety is often the number-one concern for parents. When your child is going to someone else’s sleepover, make sure your kid has your phone number memorized and knows that they can call you at any time if they feel uncomfortable.

      Many parents also like to go over the basic aspects of physical safety with their kids. Parenthood.com has an excellent article on smart sleepovers, and safety expert Pattie Fitzgerald has a good short video and an article covering some of the concerns parents might have.

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      Explain Sleepover Etiquette & Safety to Your Child

        4. Simple is best

        When you are ready to plan a slumber party, remember that simple is always best—that goes for activities, food, or planning.

        You don’t need to have a three-ring circus in your living room to keep kids entertained. Often a few board games, a movie, crafts, or free play are more than enough. Don’t stress yourself out planning an action-packed night or a difficult outing.

        The same goes for food. You might be super proud of your cumin-scented pot roast and root vegetables that got 100 likes on Instagram, but the gaggle of grade-schoolers you’re serving may not appreciate it as much.

        So keep the food simple. Chicken strips or nuggets, veggies and dip, cut-up fruit, sandwiches, and pizza are just a few classic kid-friendly standbys that will make meal times smoother.

        If you have older kids over, you could also get them in on the fun by having them make their own pizzas, subs or tacos.

        Repeat This Mantra: Simple is Best

          5. Lay ground rules from the start

          One of the best ways to avoid arguments and problems during the night is to set firm but reasonable rules from the beginning. This might include where kids can play, indoor rules for your home, outside boundaries, soda limits, and internet/phone boundaries.

          Also, don’t forget to set a firm lights-out time to ensure everyone gets enough sleep. The last thing you’ll want to deal with are a bunch of cranky and tired kids the next morning. Plus, other parents will definitely thank you!

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          Keep in mind age-appropriate bedtimes for your group and plan accordingly. Remember, kids under 12 need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and even teens need around nine hours.

          Lay Out Ground Rules from the Get Go

            6. Keep contact information in a central location

            Many savvy parents will already have contact info for the parents of their kids’ friends. But it can be extra helpful to print out all the names and numbers of parents whose kids will be at your sleepover ahead of time and keep it in an easy-to-find location like your purse or the fridge.

            This way if an issue or emergency pops up, you won’t have to search around for contacts or call dozens of numbers while dealing with a stressed or rowdy kid.

            Keep Contact Information in a Central Spot

              7. Pack the essentials, but get your kid’s input, too

              The core sleepover kit for younger kids includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, pajamas, and at least one other outfit. Check to see if they need to bring their own sleeping bag and/or pillow.

              If your child likes to sleep with a specific stuffed animal or blanket toss that in, too. Don’t forget to ask them if there’s a specific toy or other item they want to take with them (within reason) so there’s no regrets or tears later. Run through a quick inventory checklist before you leave the house just to double check.

              Pack The Essentials for Your Kid, but Get Their Input, too

                8. Supervise, but don’t tyrannize

                If you are the host parent, it’s obviously your responsibility to supervise the kids in your care and make sure they don’t get hurt or do anything too crazy.

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                But most kids, especially in the middle school years, will want to spend some time giggling and playing with their friends without mom and dad looming over or leading every single action.

                Definitely check in from time to time, lay clear ground rules and keep both ears and eyes open, but don’t stress yourself out about watching them every single minute.

                If your child is away, you can also request a call before bed so that you can check in and make sure everything is okay without being too “embarrassing.”

                Supervise, But Don't Monopolize

                  9. Expect the unexpected

                  Expect the unexpected is the perfect saying for dealing with sleepovers and kids. You can plan the perfect slumber party to the T, but the kids might be more interested in an activity you didn’t plan, one or two kids might get homesick, the pizza might show up wrong, and someone might scrape a knee.

                  Be flexible with your plans and be prepared for deviations. If you are sending your child to a sleepover, make sure your phone is charged and handy and that you aren’t too far away in case something pops up.

                  For hosts, in addition to keeping parents’ contacts handy, keep a backup kid-friendly movie and a few extra snacks around, have basic first aid stuff and emergency numbers on hand, and remember—simple is best!

                  Spongebob Slumber Party

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                    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                    1. Work on the small tasks.

                    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                    2. Take a break from your work desk.

                    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                    3. Upgrade yourself

                    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                    4. Talk to a friend.

                    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                    7. Read a book (or blog).

                    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                    8. Have a quick nap.

                    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                    9. Remember why you are doing this.

                    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                    10. Find some competition.

                    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                    11. Go exercise.

                    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                    12. Take a good break.

                    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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