Attending or throwing a sleepover birthday party can be a rite of passage for many preteen and teenage children. Spending a night away from home shows that they are old enough to be away from their parents while giving them a chance to bond with other children their own age. Unfortunately, slumber parties can get out of hand when bored children start teasing and playing pranks on each other. Keep your child’s sleepover running smoothly by planning structured activities for the guests.
Establish Ground Rules
Limit the number of guests your child can invite to her party. Unless you have a lot of patience and a large house, you probably do not want her to invite every girl in her grade to her birthday sleepover. If you can keep it under 10 guests, it should be manageable. Be clear with your child that you will not tolerate pranks at her party. Although part of the fun of sleepovers is staying up late, set a time for lights out and stick to it. Parents usually don’t appreciate having to deal with an overtired and groggy child the next day.
Pick a Theme
Theme parties tend to be more fun. Choose a popular movie, era or an activity your child enjoys to serve as the theme. Select the menu and decorate the birthday cake with the theme in mind. Depending on the children’s age, ask them to come dressed to match the theme. For instance, if the sleepover has a 1980s theme, tell them to dress in leggings, oversized shirts and neon colors. Pick the games and activities based on them as well. Of course, if the theme is a favorite movie, you should rent the DVD and show it.
Structure the Activities
Plan a few structured activities for the party, based on your child’s interests. For instance, if your child likes crafts, set up a craft table and have the guests make something, such as a necklace or collage to take home. If it is warm out and your child likes sports, have the children play a game outside before it gets too dark. You can also put out some party board games, such as Twister or Pictionary, for the guests to play.
Plan the Menu
Keep the food at the party simple and find out about any food allergies before planning the menu. You may want to schedule the party so that it starts after dinner, that way you won’t have to worry about serving both dinner and breakfast. Serve birthday cake and ice cream and set out bowls of chips and other snacks. Clear away the snacks after a certain point so that the children aren’t munching on snacks all night. Serve a fun breakfast, such as chocolate chip pancakes or blueberry muffins.
Ready to Sleep
Schedule quiet activities an hour or two before lights out. Arrange the sleeping bags in a circle and have the guests climb in. Let them tell ghost stories or silly tales to each other. You can also lower the lights and put on a movie to help them fall asleep. After the movie is over, sneak back in and turn off the TV and turn out the lights. Don’t worry if some guests stay up late chatting. As long as they are not running around and screaming, everything will be fine.
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