Your kid’s first sleepover is an important milestone in their lives. It’s not just fun and games with friends, but a key stage in their social interaction development, teaching them how to react with others in their home environment who are not family members. The social skills that children and young adults learn during sleepovers will help them develop good communications and learn more about relationships within a group.
But a sleepover isn’t just a social experiment – it’s fun too! So here’s a quick guide to making sure your kid’s sleepover is a success.
A sleepover is exciting, so it may be a while before anyone does any actual sleeping. Until everyone’s ready for bed, you’re going to need some activities to keep everyone occupied.
Games can range from breaking out the video games and letting them learn about teamwork while fighting off zombies (probably not such a good idea for younger children!), through to a game of ‘truth or dare’, where you take it in turns to reveal a truth about yourself, or complete a dare. This is a good way to form bonds within a group, as you get to learn more about your friends in a safe and unthreatening setting.
Board games are surprisingly popular at sleepovers, so why not dust off the Trivia Pursuit, or go for an old classic like Monopoly?
Younger children can be enchanted by stories, so why not involve them in the process and really get their imaginations fired up by getting them to tell a line each? The results can be hilarious if a little random!
Activities will depend on age and whether the sleepover is for boys or girls. Once they hit those teenage years, the chances are they’ll just want to be left alone to chat, play video games, or practice make-up skills. For younger children, games, singalongs and anything that involves jumping up and down on a bed are probably at the top of the list!
No adults allowed!
Letting your child host a sleepover shows a level of trust between you as a parent and your kid. So give the kids a little bit of personal space and privacy, so they can enjoy themselves without too much adult supervision. As long as you’re downstairs to cope with any emergencies or requests for glasses of water, that should be enough adult involvement for any sleepover.
Creating a safe space
Your child may feel strange about letting non-family members into their personal space, so before the sleepover starts, sit down with them and ask if there is anything they’d like to do to prepare. They may want treasured possessions put away somewhere safe, so that they don’t get broken. Reassure the child that you’ll be on hand to make sure everyone’s okay, but that you’ll be giving them a little bit of privacy so they can have fun, too.
It’s also a good idea to check with the parents of the other children whether there are any special dietary requirements or allergies, or if any of the children have medication that needs to be taken.
Eventually, everyone is going to want to settle down for a good night’s sleep. So rather than sleeping on a hard, uncomfortable floor, it’s time to sort out some practical sleeping solutions. Your child will want to sleep in their own bed, naturally, but guests can be made to feel at home on a sleepover guest bed or a folding Z bed.
You may have to clear a bit of space to fit more than one guest bed into a small room, but with some clever planning you should be able to squeeze everyone in! A great choice for teenagers is a day bed with a trundle guest bed slotted underneath, which provides at least two comfortable sleeping solutions.
Folding Z beds come in all sizes, and usually come complete with their own mattress too, making them handy to have around the home for sleepovers and for times when your spare bed is occupied. They’re a cost-effective solution, too, and can be stored easily when not in use.