My daughter is finally at that age where she’s able to have sleepovers. We try to limit slumber party madness to one or two girls at a time, but even then it seems there seems to be a bit of anxiety about what to do during the party. And then there is the question of how to get a bunch of eight year old girls down for bed for a good night’s sleep. After a few go rounds, I’ve found out you have to treat a sleep over or slumber party just like any other event and do a little prior party planning. So for all you moms out there, here are my tips for getting a good night’s sleep at your daughter’s first slumber party. From meeting them at the front door to getting your girls tucked in on a nice soft mattress, here are my words of sleepover wisdom.
Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep at Your Daughter’s First Slumber Party
1. Make a parental conference call before the sleepover begins.
Some kids are afraid of the dark, some need special blankies or stuffed animals, some have food allergies or pet allergies. Talk to your children’s friend’s parents and do some recon so you know any issues before your little guests arrive. Making sure a lovey is present, a night light available, or pets put away will help them be able to sleep while they’re spending the night, and will prevent an early departure.
2. Establish a bedtime up front!
Kids this age are constantly pushing boundaries. Just let them know from the get-go what time they’re going to be expected to be tucked in and they’ll be ok with it. The bonus to this is, you know how much awake time you have to fill so the experience is positive and fun while the friend(s) are over. What time you choose is up to you, but for my daughter who has a relatively early bedtime, 10pm is when I ask them to sleep. It ensures that I get a good night’s sleep as well!
3. Plan activities
These don’t have to be wildly complicated. There are tons of things the girls are likely to do to keep themselves occupied, but in case they look a little aimless, get together some “sleepover reinforcements” to perk up their party before dreamland calls. Just make sure the later you’re planning the activity, the more subdued it is. Swinging from the vines in the house or playing trampoline on the couch cushions isn’t usually conducive to immediate sleep!
Nail polish and pedicures before bedtime is a time-honored sleepover tradition that’s quiet other than the girly chatter that goes on. You can pick up manicure kits for a dollar or two and let the girls play salon.
I seriously do not know a girl that is elementary school age that is not crazy for rainbow loom. My daughter and her friends have abandoned the loom part, and now just make bracelets on their fingers, so picking up a couple bags of colored bands supplies them with hours of bracelet making fun. They pretty much have to stay put to make these, so also a great calming slumber party activity.
Little books to write in are also great. I remember making all sorts of lists at slumber parties, playing hang man, making doodles, etc. The dollar bin will have these cheap and your girls can get busy making their own book of sleepover secrets.
4. Every slumber party needs some good snacks!
Good, healthy, sugar free snacks. Just make sure you have a variety available and out for the kids to graze on. This makes it more like a party for them, and less work for you playing short order cook all night. Full tummies will also make for better sleep! I did throw some gummy worms and m&ms on this party tray. And I’m just going to let you know right now, I paid for it later. The girls learned what burpees were to burn off some of that energy!
5. Movie time to calm the party down
If you’re having a hard time getting everyone to calm down, a movie usually does it. It’s also a great segue to bed.
Just don’t forget the popcorn.
6. Do the nightly routine.
Even at sleepovers, the nightly routine gets kids in the frame of mind of sleep. PJs, hair brushed, teeth brushed, a story if they need it, a tuck in and kisses…or do whatever the children your care usually do before going to sleep.
7. Settle into bed – it’s a process.
They’ve had an exciting night. Having friends over is really awesome, and going to sleep kind of puts an end to it. Don’t expect them to pass out right away. I know we never did as little girls.
We approach sleep in stages. Everyone gets into bed. The lights are left on for 15 minutes so they can get the girly giggles out. The lights are turned off–falling asleep isn’t expected then, either. Another 15 minutes of talking and then I ask them for quiet. By this time, they’re usually pretty ready to pass out. Sleep deprived kids the next day are never any fun, so the sleeping part is always important at sleep overs!
Those are my basic tips for making sure everyone (including Mom) has a good time at a sleepover and gets a good night’s sleep! Hope it helps moms out there ease into a slumber party of your own.