Surviving the sleepover
Mumsnet tips on how to make sure a sleepover goes smoothly, sponsored by DryNites
It's a word to strike fear into even the most experienced of parents – the sleepover. An utter misnomer for what is guaranteed to be an evening in which your children and their guests do their level best to avoid sleep, work themselves into a sweet-induced frenzy and reduce your home to a state even Kim and Aggie would baulk at tackling.
If, however, you've had your resolve whittled away and have foolishly agreed to host one, we may have the answer. Follow these sanity-saving tips from Mumsnetters to ensure everything goes all right on the night.
STEP ONE: Draw up your battleplan
- "Do it on Friday night, so they're good and tired after the school week, and have two whole days to recover. Choose the invitees very carefully." fruitful
- "No more than two kids. Preferably one. Practice hissing, 'If you don't stop messing around RIGHT NOW, X is leaving and never coming over again!'" missorinoco
- "Have the kids arrive at a set time, before or after their tea, and make sure you arrange the pick-up time beforehand. Knowing how long you have the little darlings for will help to maintain your sanity." Sammyface
- "Make sure you have talked to the other mum beforehand about children wanting to come home in the middle of the night. And decide who will drop off/pick up/what the plan is. It's not good to get to 2am and discover both sets of parents have had a glass of wine." Ingles2
- "Organise it for an evening you are out and then sweetly remind your other half about it as you close the door." whomovedmychocolate
- "Wait till they are all 14, then put them in a tent down the bottom of a very long garden." fruitshootsandheaves
- "Only have sleepovers the day before the cleaner comes." whomovedmychocolate
STEP TWO: Feed and water 'em
- "Put them all to bed in one room and throw in a massive bag of junk food. The important thing is that it must be easy to vacuum it away afterwards – so dry food like crisps, biscuits and popcorn." Cadelaide
- "Let them watch a DVD for a treat (staying up an extra hour-and-a-half later than normal), put a dry sheet under the normal bedsheets and avoid drinks after dinner. Make up a tray of flavoured ice cubes for sucking on halfway through the film! Healthy ones, such as smoothies or cranberry juice, will quench thirst without filling bladders." Mandelle
- "Hold a timed bouncing competition on the trampoline before bed. Quickest to do 1000 bounces. Tires them out quite well I find. Winner gets to choose whatever cereal they like for breakfast." neillybeag
- "I allow a few snacks for a (9pm) midnight feast but no fizzy drinks, and I always make sure they use the toilet before settling down." badgermum
STEP THREE: Have a lights-out strategy...
- "Give the visiting child a torch at their bedside, in case they can't find their way to the light switch (or the loo) in the night." spudmasher
- "A tip for camping-in-the-garden sleepovers: children are like canaries - when you want them to shut up and go to sleep already, just take away their torches. They quieten down immediately, and are generally asleep within 20mins." PrettyCandles
- "If they are refusing to go to sleep and keep switching the light on, have a power cut." SethStarkaddersMum
- "Put all the clocks forward an hour, so they think they are staying up later than they really are. Remember to correct them all before you go to bed or they'll get up an hour earlier." choccyp1g
- "Let them watch DVDs while they are falling asleep and they all tend to stay in bed."
STEP FOUR: Switch all your settings to 'chill'
- "I am usually very strict about a clean house and healthy eating but I think all that needs to go out the window when there is a sleepover. I really hope that, when they are all grown up, that my daughter and her friends look back on them with fondness." Paulaplumpbottom
- "We don't call them sleepovers in our house, we call thempyjama parties as it encourages them to get into their PJs very early on in the evening. I always get a couple of cereal variety packs and set the table the night before in the vain hope they will get their own breakfast." Mummyofexcitedprincesses
- "We let them put up the play tents and, sometimes, real tents in the living room and pretend they're camping all night. If we're feeling really nice, we have a real fire in the living-room fireplace and toast marshmallows, like at a real campfire." Fennel
- "During term-time, always have sleepovers on a weekend. The whole point is for them to have fun. Both boys and girls will love snuggling up in sleeping bags and chatting into the night! It doesn't happen very often and won't hurt them to stay up late once in a while." toodles60
And always remember...
- "Make youself at least semi-decent before coming downstairs, as you can guarantee little Ella will be giving her mother a detailed description of your appearance later." FlyMeToDunoon
Still quaking at the thought of waking up to a house of cranky, sleep-deprived children? Then, we'll leave the last (fantastically cunning) word to GoldenSnitch:
"Send them to have the sleepover at Granny's house - that's what I do."
Last updated: over 1 year ago